Kansas Tax Cuts "Ruinous," Claims NY Times

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NEW YORK (WIBW) -- The New York Times Editorial Board blasted recent tax cuts in Kansas, describing them as "ruinous."

Citing the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, the piece compared the effects of the cuts to a midsize recession and said they slashed state revenue by 8 percent.

Kansas finished the 2014 fiscal year $338 million short of estimates.

Brownback responded by accusing the board of "simply tak(ing) the findings of a liberal Soros brothers-funded organization as truth without attempting to verify its statements."

“Kansas is in a strong fiscal position," he contended. "We ended the Fiscal Year 2014 with a cash-on-hand balance of $434.6 Million, compared with the $876.05 cash-on-hand balance to begin Fiscal Year 2011, before I became Governor."

"We are meeting all our obligations and paying our debts on time and in full, unlike previous administrations," he added.

Despite that, though, Kansas recently saw its credit rating downgraded by Moody's. The agency listed the 2012 cuts and the effect on state revenues as a factor in the downgrade, as well as long-term pension obligations and use of one-time sources of revenue to cover operations.

Brownback's camp also took issue with the Times claim that the tax cuts didn't spur economic growth.

“We have more Kansans in the workforce than ever before in the history of the state," he stated. "We have created more than 53,000 new private sector jobs and our unemployment rate has been under 5% for six consecutive months."

According to the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kansas actually lost non-farm jobs over that six months. The Kansas City Star said that makes it just one of only five states to suffer such a loss.

Between the lack of growth and tax cuts, the Times editors believes:

"Kansas is forced to chop away at its only hope for real economic expansion: investment in public schools and colleges. While most states began restoring education funding after the recession, Kansas has cut K-12 spending by 2 percent over the last two school years, and higher education by 3 percent since 2012."

Brownback concluded by pointing to Kansans' pocketbooks.

"The average per-capita disposable personal income for Kansas increased by 10.8% from 2010 to 2013,” he said, citing the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on per-capita disposable income.

However, the numbers when broken down on annualized basis show more than 3/4's of that gain (7.58%) happened between 2010 and 2011, while disposable income only grew 1.84% and 1.17% between 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively.

Posted by: Nick Viviani