Kansas Governor Sam Brownback appointed a task force with a mission of gaining control of the state's budget woes that Brownback's tax cut regime created, but the first set of policy proposals released by the task force are equal parts amusing and dangerous.
The state has missed numerous revenue projections ever since Governor Brownback eliminated income taxes for business, so Brownback's task force has recommended that they stop comparing monthly revenue with projections.
No longer would monthly reports compare tax collections with projections. Instead, they would compare that month's revenue with the same month in the previous year. [...]
Tax collections were nearly $45 million less than anticipated in September and fell short of expectations for 32 of the 45 months — 71 percent of the time — since the first tax cuts took effect.
State Sen. Tom Arpke, of Salina, one of 14 conservative Republicans to lose their seats in the August primary, said ending the current monthly reporting "is not a good idea."
It strikes me that if you stop comparing monthly revenue to your projections, you could reach the end of the fiscal year not knowing just how far behind you are. The state treasury may know, but the public and perhaps even state lawmakers could be kept in the dark.
Brownback's task force purportedly made this recommendation to improve the "accuracy" of the state's reporting, but that is preposterous. There's no accuracy in simply not producing any monthly reports. There's nothing inaccurate about correctly reporting that the state is collecting less money than it expected to.
This is clearly an effort to erase the bad headlines that are published nearly every month as a result of Brownback's tax cuts.
Brownback and his lackeys are still, years later, blaming the state's budget woes on the greater economy of the entire country, but that doesn't explain why Kansas is still worse off than any other state in the post-recession era. Even the state of Louisiana, which was devastated by Hurricane Bobby Jindal, has hit the reset button and raised taxes to begin the long process of digging out of a fiscal hole created by tax cuts.
The Kansas state legislature will have to approve the task force's proposal to stop issuing monthly reports, but the legislature has given Governor Brownback almost everything else he wanted.