Sunday, November 23, 2014

Studies criticize Brownback’s tax cuts

By The Herald Staff | 3/31/2014

TOPEKA — While state legislators focus on replenishing Kansas’ education funding, Gov. Sam Brownback continues to take hits for the signature tax cuts of his administration. According to two separate studies released last week, Kansas is trailing its neighbors in economic growth. One study put the blame on Brownback’s tax cuts, while another stemmed from a report from the governor’s own advisors.

According to the Kansas Economic Progress Council, Kansas falls behind other states in the region in employment, population, gross domestic product, personal income, private industry wage level, and private business establishment. The growth of building permits was the only category where Kansas lost traction during the past year. The council cited a March report from the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

TOPEKA — While state legislators focus on replenishing Kansas’ education funding, Gov. Sam Brownback continues to take hits for the signature tax cuts of his administration. According to two separate studies released last week, Kansas is trailing its neighbors in economic growth. One study put the blame on Brownback’s tax cuts, while another stemmed from a report from the governor’s own advisors.

According to the Kansas Economic Progress Council, Kansas falls behind other states in the region in employment, population, gross domestic product, personal income, private industry wage level, and private business establishment. The growth of building permits was the only category where Kansas lost traction during the past year. The council cited a March report from the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

The KEPC report came the same week the Brownback administration criticized the legitimacy of another study by the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which said the state’s tax cut policy was erroneously being used as a model for other states. The study found the tax cuts “sharply” reduced state revenue.

“In truth, Kansas is a cautionary tale, not a model,” the study said. “As other states recover from the recent recession and turn toward the future, Kansas’ huge tax cuts have left that state’s schools and other public services stuck in the recession, and declining further — a serious threat to the state’s long-term economic vitality. Meanwhile, promises of immediate economic improvement have utterly failed to materialize.”

According to the Washington Post, Brownback’s administration questioned the study and the organization’s political leaning.

“The Brownback administration has created a competitive advantage for Kansas,” Eileen Hawley, press secretary for Gov. Sam Brownback, told the Washington Post. “We have grown jobs, reduced unemployment and invested in education.”

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