Run for your lives, because the sky has turned pink. Brownback never saw a tax he didn't want to cut. As the Governor of Kansas he got to put his daft ideas into practice. The outcome?
On Monday, the state's legislature will take on the daunting task of trying to find hundreds of millions of dollars to balance the state's budget, which is facing a shortfall of $280 million for this fiscal year.
A big reason for the predicament, experts say: Some of the largest tax cuts in the state's history, signed into law in 2012 by Governor Sam Brownback.
One of the biggest cuts: The profits of small businesses and partnerships were made tax-exempt.
Tax policy experts like Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation suspect this change is a key reason for the state's unexpectedly large revenue shortfall. One concern is that other companies not eligible for the 0% tax rate may be trying to reorganize themselves so they, too, get the tax break.
The tax-cut package was supposed to boost the Kansas economy and small businesses. Problem is, that hasn't happened. At least not yet, although the effects of tax cuts can take years to materialize.
Mmm. And pink unicorns might also be found one day.
So Kansas is now the Great Experiment in what happens when taxes are cut to the bone, and Brownback (the Free-Market-Obligatory-Religion prophet) might actually have to raise taxes back a bit.
Though even now he is considering cutting more spending:
One of Brownback's proposals for cutting this year's shortfall is to reduce the state's contributions to the public employee pension fund for the next six months, a controversial move especially considering that the state pension plan is already underfunded.
What's behind all this weirdness? Brownback's 2012 tax cuts:
The 2012 cuts were among the largest ever enacted by a state, reducing the top tax bracket by 25 percent and eliminating all taxes on business profits that are reported on individual income returns. (No other state has ever eliminated all taxes on these pass-through businesses.) The cuts were arrogantly promoted by Mr. Brownback with the same disproven theory that Republicans have employed for decades: There will be no loss of revenue because of all the economic growth!
The lesson in all this? You need to study economics before deciding on some weird theory, based on free-market gods flying around. It scares me that so many politicians have a religious attitude to something that consists of theories, evidence and arguments.
On the other hand, though I feel sad about the citizens of Kansas, these problems couldn't have happened to a more appropriate man.