It's been quite a while since Gov. Sam Brownback (R) appeared on msnbc to talk about his economic plan, which cut taxes far beyond what his state could afford. "We'll see how it works," the Republican governor said. "We'll have a real-live experiment."
As Kansas' Associated Press reports, the experiment continues to fail (thanks to my colleague Robert Lyon for the heads-up).
A new Kansas revenue forecast says the state will face a $279 million budget shortfall by July and an even bigger gap to close in the year after that. [...]The state officials and university economists also issued the first projections for the fiscal years beginning in July 2015 and 2016. They said revenues would be $5.8 billion in the next fiscal year, then just shy of $5.9 billion. Officials said after closing a $279 million gap in the current budget, the state still would have another $436 million shortfall by July 2016.
By any fair measurement, this is a state facing a genuine crisis of its own making.
And really, the measurements keep piling up. As we talked about last week, after promising great results from Brownback's "experiment," Kansas' economy is falling short on every possible metric, growth to job creation to revenue. And because the state's finances are in shambles, Kansas' bond rating was downgraded, and then downgraded again.
Given the latest data, another downgrade would hardly come as a surprise.
I realize Brownback has an "R" after his name, but the fact that Kansans actually re-elected this guy, despite the option of a credible and experienced challenger, and despite the disaster of his signature issue, is kind of amazing.
Of course, let's not forget Art Laffer, the Republican economist who helped shape Brownback's plan, who's perhaps best known for his "Laffer Curve" which says tax cuts can pay for themselves. He, of course, feels vindicated, not because the Kansas plan is failing, but because Brownback won re-election regardless of his performance.
Paul Krugman's column from last week continues to ring true: "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet midterms to men of understanding. Or as I put it on the eve of another Republican Party sweep, politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth."
Update: Brownback’s budget director said the administration "has no intention of revisiting the state’s tax policy." No, of course not.