Happy birthday to Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts: He signed them into law exactly four years ago today — May 22, 2012.
What’s that? Kansans are not celebrating?
That’s because the tax cuts have been a well-documented disaster, embraced now only by the increasingly delusional governor and too many extremist Republican lawmakers.
But could anyone have foreseen this mess?
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Actually, yes. Some prescient Kansans commented on Brownback’s actions on the same day he signed the tax cuts.
Looking back, these regular Kansans knew what was coming, even as Brownback pledged that “Today’s legislation will create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.”
Uh, no, that didn’t happen, and some said it wouldn’t.
▪ “Everything will be traced back to this moment when the state collapses in a few years.”
▪ “Expect property taxes to rise. Expect sales taxes to rise.... You will be seeing tax increases and service decreases.”
▪ “People are peeved because they believe that the tax cuts will reduce revenue more than they will stimulate the economy. Thus less state revenue will equal more cuts to K-12 education and social services.”
▪ “I can’t believe he’s going to sign this with all the numbers pointing to disaster. What a sad day for Kansas.”
▪ “I have grade school kids. When I was growing up, I had a great education; we had music programs, art, lots of field trips, a rich, rewarding education. My parents saw the wisdom in that and they paid taxes accordingly. They weren’t happy about taxes, but knew that they owed it to their kids to give them the education to succeed. Same went for our higher education system. And it worked. Me and my siblings are all professionals making good incomes. My generation screwed up. We allowed these near-nihilists to control state government and gut what once was a proud, effective state. I am going to apologize to my kids tonight.
▪ “Okay, let’s all hold hands and sing, ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’ This ship is going down.”
▪ “Will tax cuts create jobs and stimulate the economy? We’ve already tried this and it didn’t work. Only a Republican would try it again and expect a different outcome.”
▪ “There is no ‘miracle’ that’s going to happen. More likely we will become a state that has lesser schools, crumbling infrastructure, higher crime, increasing illiteracy, creeping pollution, etc.”
▪ “It’s not that hard to figure out. When the state takes in less, it can’t pay the bills. It may sound like you’re keeping more of your money but you're going to pay a bigger price when the hammer falls. This is a huge gamble with terrible odds.”
▪ “The problem is that for most of us, by the time the dust settles there won’t BE any ‘tax savings’ to donate. A lot of the state tax revenues are actually passed down to cities and counties and school districts; if that money is not coming in, the locals will raise their taxes to compensate. They have to: roads are not going to repair themselves, teachers still want paychecks, etc.”
▪ “Trickle down economics has failed every time it has been attempted, I see no reason not to expect the worst in this pathetic attempt.”
As I said, prescient indeed.