KDP Weekly Wrap-up

Brownback Tax Plan, Kansas GOP Mocked

The national headlines were unkind to Governor Sam Brownback and his GOP compatriots this week. It seems the national media is catching on to the disaster that is the governor's tax plan that raises taxes on working Kansans to pay for tax breaks for the richest Kansans.

Here's a sampling:

And what is the main complaint of these national publications? They're the same as those Kansas Democrats have been warning of since Brownback took office: Brownback is using Kansas to further his political aspirations, his tax plan shifts the burden onto the backs of working Kansans, and the Kansas budget is set to implode, taking the state's economy with it.

Brownback's presidential ambition and political ideology is a highlight of Rolling Stone's coverage. Rolling Stone accuses Brownback of "using Kansas as a sort of laboratory, in which ideas cooked up by Koch-funded libertarian think tanks can be released like viruses on live subjects."

US News & World Report sees a tax model that won't create jobs, but will raise taxes on the poorest Kansans while slashing taxes for the richest Kansans.

As this chart from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows, just replacing 50 percent of the revenue lost by eliminating Kansas' income tax with sales tax revenue would seriously wallop those with lower-incomes:

They also see these regressive changes being pushed in the hopes of improving Sam Brownback's presidential standing with GOP presidential primary voters: "It may be that poor Kansans are simply being asked to pay the price of Brownback's political ambitions."

Citizens for Tax Justice see no relief over the horizon either. They note that "good policy is not even on the priority list for Kansas lawmakers who "for two years running, have been falling all over themselves to pass tax cuts of disastrous proportions, despite red flags from experts, editorial boards and their colleagues in other states."

Finally, a review of Gov. Brownback's dysfunctional tax plan and budget by the Christian Science Monitor doesn't believe the governor's magical claims of unfettered economic prosperity, arguing that "Kansas is setting itself up for a period of ongoing budget crises and uncertainty that seems likely to undermine the attractive environment for business lawmakers are trying to create."

Kansas has already started seeing the effects of ongoing budget crises, highlighted by the $66 million higher education cut that Kansas GOP legislators rammed through this session.

So there you have it: political ambition before good public policy, devastating budget cuts to education, and a tax plan that soaks working Kansans and fails to create jobs. National observers are waking up to Brownback's Kansas - now it's our job to make sure Kansas voters wake up too.

IN OTHER NEWS

KANSAS POLITICS
Controversial tax bill signed into law

Official: Kansas corrections cuts will lead to layoffs

Nearly six months in, KanCare hiccups persist

No support for budget in northeast JoCo delegation

Executive director no longer employed at KCC in wake of critical report

Education department challenges 'innovative districts' law

KANSAS OPINIONS
Higher-ed cuts dumb

State agencies run into the ground

Time for public to weigh in on higher education funding

We need a new state motto

Evolution overshadowed by Common Core paranoia

Another blow to the arts


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