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Is The Kansas GOP Rebuke of Governor Brownback Good News or Bad News?

February 27, 2017

I’ve written several posts about the horrific budget cuts made to Kansas public education over the past five years as a result of Governor Sam Brownback’s decision to use trickle down economics as the basis for developing his budgets and opening the door for business. As reported in today’s NYTimes, after four years of waiting, the cuts to corporations and private business heads has not resulted in the economic growth Mr. Brownback and the Tea Party faction of the Kansas GOP promised. And here’s the result:

The multibillion-dollar cuts have not moved employers to invest and hire more; the state budget is now flooded with red ink. Kansans have become alarmed at years of deep deficits, shrinking state support for education, two downgrades in the state’s credit rating and enough regret among legislators to prompt an extraordinary uprising last week by Statehouse Republicans.

So… it’s clearly good news that the majority of GOP legislators pushed back on the Governor…. and even better news that they did so with passage of a bill that required the imposition of $1,000,000,000 in taxes over a two year period. But the bad news is that the Governor vetoed the legislation and the Senate failed to override the veto. And here’s the result of that:

Kansas faces a $1.2 billion budget gap across the next two years that must be dealt with. There is talk of further cuts in education, which would deepen the crisis in poorer districts that have already suffered reductions in staff and school days.

Unfortunately these disagreeable facts from Kansas that illustrate the true impact of trickle down budgeting will fall on deaf ears in Washington when the President proposes his new budget, which is rumored to increase spending on anything related to the military and cut spending on anything that might secure the safety net and assist with regulating the environment. And the result will be prolonged suffering by children raised in poverty and an increase in the economic divide.

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