Toto, we ARE in Kansas!

Linda Oyon

Open revolt in the Kansas GOP is now plaguing Governor Sam Brownback in his attempt to slash personal income taxes. His reasoning for the cuts was that it would encourage business expansion and hiring (sound familiar Arizonans?) But five years in, his plan hasn’t produced the promised results but rather, has the state budget in a crisis so deep that many of the Republicans that originally backed the plan are now jumping ship.

Brownback and the Kansas Legislature’s (where three-fourths of the seats are held by Republicans) plan was to cut top personal income tax (surprise, surprise) by 29 percent and exempt more than 330,000 farmers and businesshh owners from income taxes. The predicted business expansion didn’t happen, and now the state is in trouble. Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle said the Legislature still supports low income taxes, but they’d “prefer to see some real solutions coming from the Governor’s office.” What a concept!

What’s the chances Governor Ducey and Senator Biggs are paying attention to what’s happening in Kansas and…learning the right lesson from it? Uh yeah, that’s what I thought. It is obvious though that they are working from the same playbook in making cuts. Brownback’s most recent cuts have been to universities and public education (sound familiar?) And yes, just like in Arizona, Kansas has siphoned off big money from highway projects (over $750 million in just two years.)

Thus far, Brownback isn’t backing down and blames a slow global economy for his state’s troubles (guess the buck doesn’t stop on his desk.) An economist for the conservative Tax Foundation however, says those benefitting are pocketing the tax savings rather than using it to expand and create jobs. One former ally of Brownback who is now a critic said the continuing budget turmoil has been “just amateurish.”

I don’t know that I would characterize Arizona’s budget issues as amateurish, maybe self-serving instead. I’ve written before about the fallacy of trickle-down economics, there are plenty of examples that show it is a very flawed theory. Why do GOP lawmakers continue to go down that rabbit hole? Could it be that they are considering deep pockets more than the big picture for our state and all its citizens?

I’m currently reading the book “The Political Brain” in which author Drew Westen makes the point that the Democrats don’t have, and haven’t had, “a plan.” Think I prefer that to the Republican plan which seems to be to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. At least there’s a chance the Dems will get it right every now and then. The GOP’s plan is just literally the definition of insanity.


  1. Here’s a link to a recent good article by Howard Fischer of the Arizona Daily Star on the impact of recent corporate income tax cuts. By 2019, the state will be bringing in $350 million less than under the old rates.

    America is becoming two countries, blue and red states. Blue states are fairly wealthy, good schools, access to health care and family planning. Red states are going in the other direction.

    • Evidently you haven’t heard of Texas. No income tax, GDP growth of 700 billion all on its own, about 1/3 of the total for the nation since 2009. And, Florida, 100 billion all on its own – no income tax.

      The returns to a low tax strategy come in continuously and on into infinity. Very little of the benefit comes in immediately. We are still benefiting from Reagan’s monster tax cuts today despite all the damage done by Clinton and Bush.

      • Delusional. Texas schools are being squeezed also. Oil patch revenue that they relied on also out the window. A illusional fiscal nirvana. The tax cut benefits have not helped the middle class, they have allowed the destruction of the industrial base of this country by rewarding moving jobs to China.

        • Schools are always being squeezed, even in New York City with their $12 billion increase over the last 10 years. It is the collective nature of the enterprise to feel enormously squeezed at any level of funding. Do the math, its called the problem of the commons – its why communism produces a $240 maximum annual wage in cuba after 50 years by comparison with Singapore which is at $60,000 per year.

          The tax cuts have absolutely helped the middle class of 1980, they are now the upper middle class. But, unfortunately, we developed a massive welfare state that trapped an enormous number of poor people at the bottom level. They only way to rid ourselves of this phenomena is to limit the welfare state. Sanders solution: increase the attraction of the welfare state.

      • Nice try, John. Bill and Hillary Clinton left office in 2001 with a projected 10 year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion. We had a robust economy with peace and prosperity. George W. Bush, perhaps our worst president, certainly the worst in the last 100 years, left us bankrupt, including spending $2 trillion on a vanity war in Iraq.

        • Newt Gingrich’s 1996 welfare reform, which emptied half of all people off welfare, produced that surge – not Bill Clinton.

          That’s all gone now.

          And, despite both the Clinton tax increase and the Bush tax increase, tax rates were still well below the Carter taxes, way below.

          • You need to lay off the cherry flavored Kool-Aid and google “velocity of money”.

            Then look up how national debt goes up faster when Republicans are in the White House, and how jobs are created faster when Democrats are in the White House.

            Your trickle down supply side fairy tale is a scam. It is no different than the dozens of TV preachers telling gullible people like yourself that if you send them a thousand dollars, God and Jesus will reward you a thousand time back.

            That, like supply side economics is clearly a scam, and yet people like you keep falling for both.

          • Do the numbers. Food stamp rolls went from 27 million to 17 million after welfare reform.

            Today, they are at 45 million. Welfare begets dependency and just sucks people out of the job market.

          • Bush tax increase? Actually, two tax cuts, unnecessary and totally blew out the federal budget.

            The reason there were three years of balanced budgets during the Clinton administration, and the $5.6 trillion ten year surplus, was the tax bill of 1993, without one Republican vote. Welfare is a very minor piece of federal spending.

          • Bush didn’t just cut taxes, in 2008 he sent us all checks!

            Whoohoo! Free wars and free money!

      • Texas is a very bad example sport, once you look beyond your little cherries.

        Because conservative economics is a scam, Texas used six billion dollars from Obama’s stimulus to balance their budget.

        Texas is a highly polluted state full of shitty minimum wage jobs and bigots who can’t get health insurance.

        You go live there if it’s so great.

        • Well, show me some numbers to back up your false assertion. You can go to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, find the number of jobs Texas had in 2007 above $80,000 per year and then find the number for 2015 or 2014. Then rank them in terms of percent increase.

          Here’s my bet: they would rank in the top ten in the nation almost certainly. Their lead on total jobs was so great, that the top would almost certainly would have come along too.

          We can do the same thing for their air quality by going to EPA reports and CDC reports. Want to do any bets there too?

          The RAND corporation did three reports in the 90’s and in the early 2000’s which all not only ranked Texas’s schools as number one in the nation, but, the gap between them and number two was the largest gap between any two states in the nation. Liberal bastion California was ranked dead last in all three reports.

  2. The one party dictatorship continues their obscene process that is the so-called Arizona budget. If any local government ran a process like them, the legislature would be passing laws to take their money away. It is obvious Biggs, Ducey and Gowan do not have the votes for whatever mess they are trying shove down the throats of their caucuses. If they try any criminal tax cuts considering the massive needs this State has, or they try to shove through more vouchers, or try court packing through the budget, all bets should be off on Prop 123. The citizens of this State obviously have nothing to say about this budget, and god forbid they get the proposed budget, and actually organize opposition to the mess.

    • I am afraid you are right Frances. The ONLY power we have is our vote, but so few of the masses have connected how important it is. Just like an addict often has to hit rock bottom before they will seek help, I people are going to have to really personally feel the pain before they take action. Just can’t imagine how much further the bottom is…

  3. Ducey, and the rest of the R-Governors pulling the same stunts, are well aware of Kansas.

    Kansas is going as planned.

    This is not the 1950’s. Modern conservatives are not trying to govern, they don’t support “main street” anymore, they’re trying to burn government down.

    They don’t hide this, every liberal/democrat/progressive should know this by now. Spend five minutes listening to right wing hate radio, watch a little cable “news”, or visit a right wing website.

    Wreck the economy, destroy government, then pick up the assets for pennies on the dollar.

    If they get their way we’ll have condo’s along the rim of the Grand Canyon and a Trump casino in Yosemite park.

    Trickle down, as admitted by Ronald Freakin’ Reagan’s budget director David Stockman in 1981, is just a fairy tale for poor folks to vote for tax cuts for rich folks.

    The GOTeaP is a scam to steal the wealth of America.

    • Trickle down? no, gusher down? no; tsunami down? yes. In 1980, the top 1% of tax returns paid 138 billion in taxes, that increased to a staggering $500 billion by 2007. In 1980, before the Reagan tax rate cuts, the stock market was valued at $1.1 trillion, today that is at $22 trillion. Adjusted for inflation and population, it would only be at $4.7 trillion. An extra $17 trillion in wealth backing up police, teacher, firefighter pensions is no trickle -it is way beyond a tsunami, its inconceivable.

      Can you imagine destroying all that wealth? In a fit of jealous rage, following twisted sick corrupt scholarship, that is what all the Bernie Sanders supporters want to do.

  4. “Trickle down” and the “Laffer Curve” were ALWAYS lies, lies told to the marks to enable the plutocrats to stripmine more wealth out of the rest of us, and destroy any public infrastructure they could, so they can profit from providing it when we have no choice but to beg them for it.

    Budget crises are a desired feature, not a bug with these policies.

    Go read ‘The Shock Doctrine’ ; destroying third world economies was just practice for destroying ours.

    • Ok, let’s hit it one more time.
      1980 Top 1% pay 138 Billion in taxes
      2007, that top 1% pay 500 billion in taxes, tsunami wealth transfer at a much lower tax rate
      1980 Stock market 4 trillion
      Now: Stock market 22 trillion backing up everyone’s pensions

      Could double all this to a trillion per year and 44 trillion if we would reduce that top rate to 25%

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