Kansas succumbs to the market fundamentalist cult
by David Atkins
This is what happens when an entire state succumbs to a radical free market cult:
Kansas must cut $279 million from its budget before July just to be dead broke with a balance of zero in its checking account...
With those cuts not yet in place, the state is supposed to spend $6.3 billion from its general fund this year. The entire budget, including federal aid, stands at $14.6 billion...
The state of Kansas has a two-year budget cycle, so they’ll have to cut that amount again for fiscal year 2017 (starting July 1, 2016) when they pass a preliminary budget for that year. Even after doing that, the state is projected to have a shortfall of $400,000 for that year. That adds up to a cumulative budget hole of more than $1.4 billion that lawmakers will have to close.
And that’s if the state hits its recently revised revenue projections. If it misses the mark, the situation could be even more dire.
Duane Goossen, who served as budget director under the three governors preceding Brownback, said the revised revenue estimates released this past week assume that the state will surpass individual income tax revenue from the prior year. But so far the state is about $80 million behind where it was last year.
“We’ve been dropping behind last year’s pace, not gaining on it. If that trend continues, then the revenue estimate that’s just been put in place is still too high,” Goossen said.
The reason, of course, is Brownback's wildly irresponsible tax cuts. Not that Kansas is going to do anything about that.
Merrick called delaying or reversing income tax cuts a nonstarter in an interview before the election. He argued the tax cuts would spur economic growth, while government spending would not.
Yep, all those teachers, firefighters, police officers, social workers, sewage maintenance crews...who needs 'em? Get rid of all the parasites and let freedom ring!
He said that former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius “spent money like a drunken sailor” and argued that government jobs do not contribute to the health of the state’s economy.
“Government employees produce nothing. They’re a net consumer. And you got that cost forever and ever and ever because they’re on the KPERS (pension) plan, they’re on all the government insurance and everything,” Merrick said. “That is employment to Democrats. Hire more (government employees). And that was Kathleen; she’d brag about her employment number, ‘Oh, I got a lot of people employed.’ Yeah, you got a lot more government employees employed. That doesn’t stimulate the economy.”
“All areas of government spending will be under scrutiny,” Merrick said in an e-mail. “Tightening the belt is never easy, but it’s extremely important to the future well-being and prosperity of our state that we allow taxpayers’ own money to remain with them as much as possible.”
I'm sure Kansans will do wonderful things with it. Maybe they can set up a community fund to help pay for all the teachers and maintenance workers who will be fired. But then they'd have to make sure everybody paid into the fund, and that someone was there to administer it, and some way to make sure everyone was paying according to their ability...Nah, that sounds socialist.
Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, a member of the House Taxation Committee, also said no changes will be made to the tax code.
“We’ve got two or three decades of layers of inefficient government that’s just been stacked up and stacked up, layer upon layer,” Brunk said.
“We’re not going to make any changes in the tax code. That’s not going to happen. That’s certainly not going to happen,” Brunk said. “We’re resolute and set on a path for Kansas to become a low tax state … that’s what it’s going to take for the next 20 years to stimulate jobs in Kansas.” ...
Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the budget, agrees with Donovan that lawmakers need to look at both spending and revenue...
“You do see the headlines that say, ‘The Brownback tax plan – Kansas loses a billion dollars to the tax plan.’ Well, the truth is, you flip that. Taxpayers gained a billion dollars due to the tax plan,” Masterson said. “Let the people of Kansas get their billion dollars and see what they can do with it.”
I guess Kansas will be doing without, even as their economy shrinks and crashes due to failing services and reduced consumer demand. That's what happens when you put cultists in charge of your well being.