Two years ago, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared that his plan to gradually repeal the state’s income tax would be “a real live experiment” in supply-side economics. He pushed through two consecutive income tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the richest Kansans (while actually hiking taxes on the state's poorest residents), assuring the public these cuts would pay for themselves.
But the Governor’s experiment now appears to be in meltdown mode: revenues for the last two months have come in way under projections and may leave the state short of the cash needed to pay its bills.
And, while the governor takes credit for cutting taxes at the state level, taxpayers in cities and rural areas are finding themselves paying more in local taxes. The Wichita Eagle cautions that municipalities aren’t even close to being out of the woods yet: “[t]he picture for cities, as well as counties and school districts, could darken over the next year if the state’s revenues don’t better align with projections.”
This tax shift isn’t just happening in Kansas cities. Rural areas are feeling the pinch in terms of increased property taxes. A professor from Wichita State University opined about dramatic property tax increases across the state and concludes “Brownback’s tax experiment is driving these shifts.
Need further evidence of the state’s meltdown mode? Read this superbly titled New York Times piece, “Yes, if You Cut Taxes, You Get Less Tax Revenue, Kansas Tax Cut Leaves Brownback With Less Money.”