Yael T. Abouhalkah

Boo: Kansas now 33,000 jobs behind Sam Brownback’s 2014 campaign pledge

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback keeps looking for bright spots in the monthly jobs report.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback keeps looking for bright spots in the monthly jobs report. The Associated Press

This counts as relatively good news for Kansas: The number of total nonfarm jobs grew by 2,600 in May, according to a report released Friday.

But hold the applause.

Even that small increase wasn’t enough to offset stunning employment losses in previous months. What’s that mean?

▪ Kansas has actually lost 700 jobs over the last 12 months.

▪ The Sunflower State had the sixth worst job growth rate in the country over that year of minus 0.1 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

▪ Kansas is more than 33,000 jobs behind the 2014 campaign pledge of Gov. Sam Brownback that the state would gain employment of 100,000 people in his second term. That’s a gain of just under 2,100 jobs a month.

At that pace, Kansas could have added more than 35,000 jobs in the 17 months since January of 2015 marked the start of Brownback’s final term.

Oops: The total gain in those 17 months was only 1,700 jobs.

That’s right. Kansas has added an average of just 100 jobs a month since Brownback’s second term began.

(In Missouri, the state lost 5,900 jobs in May, but had a yearly growth rate of 0.9 percent. That was 17th worst in the nation.)

The May report in Kansas was at least a little better than the April one. Last month, the state announced it had lost several thousand jobs.

The bad news in Topeka is continuing this week, as the Legislature scrambles to find money to keep public schools open.

Indeed, as several lawmakers have said, they don’t even have the $50 million or so it would take to properly fund the K-12 education system because the state’s entire reserves have been wiped out.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, you’ll remember, because Brownback and his ardent followers claimed four years ago that sharp income tax cuts would boost jobs and bring in more revenue.

Alas, the costly tax cuts are not working to stimulate anything. Keeping them in place is draining the state of funds it could use to run the schools, fix the roads and provide other basic public services to Kansans.

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