The Kansas experiment
Kansas Republicans embarked on what Gov. Sam Brownback called a “real-live experiment” in 2012. The plan eliminated state income taxes altogether for so-called pass-through entities— companies filing their taxes as individuals. Brownback and others argued that the tax cuts would pay for themselves by generating massive economic growth, ultimately allowing the state to abolish the income tax altogether. But that growth never materialized, and Kansas now faces an $889 million budget shortfall over the next two years. The state has been forced to make deep, unpopular cuts to public education, social services, and even highway repairs, while its credit rating has been downgraded. A coalition of Republicans and Democrats reversed most of the tax cuts this year, overriding Brownback’s veto. With many of the same economists who advised Brownback working with the national GOP on its tax plan, some Kansas Republicans are warning Congress not to assume tax cuts will pay for themselves. “That won’t work, so you better learn our lesson,” said state Sen. Barbara Bollier.