Delusional Brownback Doubles Down

Over at Salon, Luke Brinker is astonished at the Kansas governor’s lack of remorse and refusal to chart a course correction.

Here’s what Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s supply side economic experiment has wrought: The Republican’s massive tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses will cost the state a projected $5 billion in revenue over seven years; by this summer, legislators must address a $278 million revenue shortfall, which Brownback is looking to fill in part by slashing vital infrastructure spending and reducing contributions to the state’s already underfunded pension plan. Meanwhile, the tax cuts haven’t delivered the economic “shot of adrenaline” Brownback promised. Kansas’ GDP growth lags behind that of other states in the region, its rate of job growth is slower than that of the nation as a whole, and the state’s per-capita income ranking hasn’t changed since the tax cuts were enacted in 2012. Kansas is ascending the national rankings on one measure, however: Last year, it ranked seventh in the nation among states residents left.

Surely this dismal state of affairs has Brownback considering a major course correction — right?

Fat chance. In his State of the State address last night, the newly reinaugurated governor was at once determined, defiant, and delusional, vowing that he would continue to move the state toward zero income tax, indicating that despite some post-election speculation, Brownback has no intention of reversing course on his signature economic policy.

I try to remind myself that plenty of people in Kansas voted against Sam Brownback, but part of me looks at these citizens’ looming regressive sales tax increases and thinks, “They’re going to get exactly what they deserve.”

Of course, it is no wonder why Kansas now ranks 7th in the nation in net population loss.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.