Sam Brownback's Kansas miracle: A lesson for Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sam Brownback's Kansas miracle: A lesson for Arkansas

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

click to enlarge THAT WAS THEN: A year ago, Asa Hutchinson was emphasizing a major income tax cut. Now comes reality, as Kansas illustrates.
  • THAT WAS THEN: A year ago, Asa Hutchinson was emphasizing a major income tax cut. Now comes reality, as Kansas illustrates.

It's been clear for some time that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's massive income tax cuts were crippling the state budget, particularly schools. The news has now been outlined in stark terms. From the Wichita newspaper:

The state of Kansas will not have enough money to pay its bills through June unless it cuts $279 million in spending, according to updated revenue estimates.

Just a week after being re-elected, Gov. Sam Brownback is staring down a budget crisis, and nonpartisan analysts point to his signature policy as the cause.

Budget director Shawn Sullivan had the unenviable chore of presenting the state’s dire fiscal outlook at a news conference Monday evening at the Capitol. The state must cut $279 million for the current fiscal year, which ends in June, and another $436 million in the next fiscal year.

Democrats howled that Brownback lied about the state of affairs during his recent re-election campaign, which he won despite the endorsement of his Democratic opponent by 20 or so Republican legislators. The faithful in Kansas are undeterred by facts and that will presumably remain so as the inevitable slashes in human services and education take place.

Arkansas should take note. Asa Hutchinson ran for governor on a promised $100 million income tax cut, on top of a scheduled $50 million income tax cut that current Gov. Mike Beebe suggests should be delayed because of tepid revenue growth. And then there's Obamacare, whose millions trickle down into every crevice of government. Its fate is unknown.

A Republican political consultant told me election day that Hutchinson was well aware of Kansas and would move more cautiously than his campaign rhetoric might have indicated. And he'll be rounding up Obamacare support, too, he said. I suspect that's correct. But will the legislators in the growing Republican majority exhibit similar temperance?

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