Kansas, a state that is so Gawd-awful that Kansas City has been sneaking its own bad self into Missouri (which is no Garden of Eden despite what the Mormons say) for years, is thinking about turning itself into a Paul Ryan petri dish because, hey, why not? It’s Kansas.
Not that they won’t try to fuck it up even more:
Fiscal conservatives in Kansas have turned their state into a laboratory to test reforms similar to the “Ryan plan” for massive tax cuts at the national level — and the result has been a Republican civil war.
Backers of recent state tax cuts argue they will create jobs and boost the economy to partially offset lost revenue, with budget cuts solving the remaining shortfall. The tax cuts go into effect in January, and the Kansas Legislative Research Department calculates the lost revenue will amount to the equivalent of 36 percent of the state budget within five years.
Republican Governor Sam Brownback has described the reforms as a “real live experiment” that proponents want to see implemented at the national level.
Moderate Republicans, who control the Kansas state Senate with Democratic help, argue that a tax-cut-fueled boom is a pipe dream and lost tax revenue will devastate schools, roads and basic services for the poor, as well as lead to the release of convicted felons.
“The tax cuts will do huge damage to Kansas over the next few years,” said Republican state Senate Vice President John Vratil, who is retiring and refers to conservatives as “ultra right wingers.” “It’s pretty clear that unless something changes we will see dramatic cuts to public services like education.”
So what kind of cuts are we talking about here?
According to a Kansas Legislative Research Department analysis, in fiscal year 2018 (beginning July 2017) the revenue loss would exceed $900 million and the cumulative hole from previous years in the projected $6.8 billion state budget would amount to nearly $2.5 billion. A June 14 Moody’s Investors Service report said tax revenue losses would be “dramatic,” adding that “inaction or the use of unsustainable budgetary measures to offset the loss could lead to a (rating) downgrade.”
Moderate Republicans say dramatic revenue losses will hit public services hard, especially public education, which accounts for 62.4 percent of the current annual state budget.
“Unless jobs come flooding to Kansas, the first place to cut is education,” said Republican Senate majority whip Jean Schodorf, who faces a conservative primary challenger. “We have to hope this (tax cut package) is a success, or a lot of people are going to get hurt. This is barebones, Libertarian government.”
Guess we’ll be able to settle that debate over social Darwinism after all, in a state that already has a complicated relationship with Chuck.