This week, Governor Brownback signed the bills that will fund state government for the next year... oh, wait, that will almost fund state government. The bills he was given by the Kansas Legislature fell roughly $50 million short, so he expects to trim that as the year progresses.
We've covered that mess previously, the incredible sales tax burden being foisted onto working Kansans in favor of ineffective "job creating" cuts to income and business taxes. Enough of that. Something more incredible is going on.
Governor Brownback talked to the media about this funding bill, the condition of the Kansas economy, and the future, and we are wondering, truly, if nobody else sees that the Governor has no clothes.
Just because he says it is sunny in Kansas, does not make it so.
Here is the Governor's interview with Steve Kraske of KCUR, who does his best to ask the right questions, but eventually falters under the Governor's withering assault of repetition and dismissal.
- Governor Brownback Justifies Tax Increases as Part of Broader Agenda - KCUR's Up to Date
- The full 15 minute interview
The Democrats are to blame
The Governor criticizes his critics, calling them Democrats even though many Republicans voted against this plan, too, indicating that they were simply obstructionists who never put forward a plan. Was he paying attention? The Kansas Legislative Leadership gerrymandered the system so that the tax bill was crafted by a Conference Committee composed of four Republicans and two Democrats. Non of the Republicans were moderates. Those two Democrats, despite having no voice of consequence, showed up at every meeting, and did their best to represent not just their constituents, but over half the electorate who voted against Brownback.
The Governor played blame politics, continuing to claim a majority mandate for his policies. Of 1.7 million registered voters, only 400,000 voted for him.
The national economy is to blame
When confronted with the slow growth of the Kansas economy, the Governor blamed the national economy. That's the national economy that is outpacing Kansas in private sector employment, non-farm employment, growth in manufacturing employment, private industry wage growth, and even new businesses created, the great "job creating" engine this plan was supposed to support.
This is a tax cut, really
Then, the Governor crossed the line. He declared that this $400 million tax increase just passed, is really a tax cut. Of course, you have to look at it, "in the totality of the movement over the past three years, and when you look at it that way, on net, this is a tax cut."
Does he not understand what a regressive tax is? Or is he playing coy with Kansas? Reducing income taxes means you keep more of the money you make. If you make a lot of money, you keep a lot more of it. Raising sales taxes means you lose more money when you buy things. If you're keeping a lot more of your money, you'll have a lot more left over once you're done buying food, paying for shelter, going on a cruise.
But if you don't make a lot of money... a family of four making $40,000 is estimated to lose more in sales tax than they have gained in income tax. (Source: KC Star) So, in the Governor's ballyhooed "net" calculation, who is it who gets his "net" tax cut? Not the people who need it.
At some point spin becomes lies
How long before Kansans recognize that the Governor is not telling the whole truth? This is a tried and true method for the social conservatives in our country: state your own opinions often enough and soon people will believe them to be facts.
Please, forward this to your skeptical friends, family, co-workers. Or just ask them to look at the facts, at their tax bills, at their schools and nursing homes. The Governor and his allies are taking Kansas for a ride.
"Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."