Under the stewardship of Governor Sam Brownback, the state government has already taken some steps toward plugging a hole in the state budget through spending cuts, but revenue forecasts released this week show that an even bigger hole has emerged.
The state is now facing a $400 million hole.
With Kansas’ economy growing at a slower rate than the rest of the country, fiscal analysts reduced the state’s revenue estimates by $200 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, increasing the budget deficit lawmakers must tackle.
While income tax receipts are expected to hold steady the next two years, the state suffers from losses in severance taxes because of a soft oil and gas market and a decline in corporate income taxes.
As you may recall, some school systems in Kansas will be forced to close early this year because they simply do not have enough money to stay open. They don't have enough money because Governor Brownback and the state legislature cut education funding in the middle of the school year to make up for a deficit generated by Brownback's signature tax cuts.
It's only going to get worse from here because the path of least resistance for attempting to close the gap is through a series of consumption taxes that adversely affect the poor and working class while the rich and wealthy benefit greatly from the elimination of income taxes.
And an even greater problem lies on the other side of this conservative economics shit show.
After all is said and done -- when income taxes have been eliminated and replaced by a flat tax -- the problems will not only persist but grow larger. Trickle down economics doesn't even work on paper without a generous punctuation of magic asterisks and it sure as hell doesn't work in practice as we can see for ourselves.
In 2016, Republican candidates will be running on a platform that calls for implementing the Kansas model in all 50 states.
Some of them already are. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have both called for eliminating income taxes in favor of a flat tax.