Politics

Kansas Tax Cuts Endanger Republican Gov. Sam Brownback

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's steep tax cuts have failed to stimulate economic growth in Kansas, making him vulnerable to a Democratic challenger.

Kansas Tax Cuts Endanger Republican Gov. Sam Brownback
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When Kansas governor Sam Brownback was elected with a thirty point margin in 2010, he promised a hard right turn for Kansas voters. 

"And our way is holding down taxes, holding down regulations, controlling spending. ... That's our route and that's the route we're going to move America and Kansas forward." (Via Youtube)

And love him or hate him, the Governor has been a man of his word. 

Brownback cut the state's budget, and zeroed out all funding for the Kansas Art Commission. 

He cut taxes for individuals and businesses by 25 percent in 2012 — and then reduced them again in 2013.

With overwhelming Republican majorities in the legislature, Kansas has been the leader of what The New York Times called "A model of conservative governance for other states." 

And in a state known chiefly for its cornfields, college basketball, and conservative politics, Brownback has attracted national attention.

"Alright lets talk about what's happening in Kansas. You’ve put together a lot of conservative policies and the results are pretty strong." (Via Fox News)

"And there is no greater fighter for the family in this country than Sam Brownback." (Via KSNT)

The fact is, Sam Brownback is testing a bedrock Republican idea in Kansas — that tax cuts will lead to economic prosperity and reelection in 2014. 

"We'll see how it works. We'll have a real live experiment. We're right next to some other states which haven't lowered taxes." (Via MSNBC)

So 3 years later, how's the experiment going? 

Well, here's the twist: On Tuesday a grand total of 104 Republican leaders announced their endorsement of Brownback's opponent, citing the Governor's fiscal policy as the reason for their opposition. 

"Instead of embracing the Kansas values of working together to find common sense solutions, he's forced his 'real live experiments' on this state." ‚Äč(via WIBW)

 

Kansas' economy has been underwhelming for a Governor who promised strong growth. (Getty Images)

On one hand, Kansas' unemployment rate is 4.8% -- well below the national rate of 6.1%. (Via FRED

But the Washington Post reports that job growth is lagging in the state.

And the Wichita Eagle reports tax cuts have blown a hole in revenues, leading credit rating agency Moody's to downgrade Kansas' bond rating and promise harsher cuts down the line.   

National Journal reports that the economic condition of Kansas has made Brownback "unexpectedly vulnerable in his bid for a second term."

"47 to 41. That's the lead Democrat Paul Davis currently has over Governor Brownback." (via KSHB)

Democrats are hopeful the race is the canary in the coal mine for victories in November 

But Brownback isn't worried yet. He says voters don't start paying attention until later in the summer.