Kansas Revenue Woes Reflect a More Troubling Problem
Even so, Friday’s announcement of a two-year, $354 million revenue shortfall in Kansas is particularly scary. The red ink now suggests the state faces an economic crisis only indirectly related to the tax cuts, a fundamental challenge that may take decades to address.
Remember, last June, the legislature passed and the governor signed the biggest tax increase in Kansas history. Friday’s lower revenue projections are actually based on higher taxes on sales and tobacco, as well as changes to deductions and credits that may shock Kansans when they file their income tax returns next spring.
Those clamoring for repeal of the Brownback tax cuts miss this important point. In essence, the Brownback tax cuts have been repealed.
The state’s tax burden has dramatically shifted — from the wealthy to the middle class and poor — but the aggregate amount of state revenue is, or should be, roughly the same as it would have been had the income tax cuts never taken place.
Yet the state is taking in far less than it thought it would. That sends a message.