Wednesday, June 07, 2017
It took 6 years to figure it out
But the Kansas legislature has finally realized that Gov. Sam Brownback's classic Conservative tax policies are total bullshit and do not work. And working to correct that disaster, they have passed a $1.2 Billion tax bill and overridden Brownback's veto.
For six years, Gov. Sam Brownback carried out a signature philosophy of cutting taxes and shrinking government across Kansas, a state dominated by his fellow Republicans.Brownback didn't see it because he didn't want to see it. And longer term, the reactionaries who only support tax cuts will insist that the policy didn't fail, it was the people who executed it that failed. And the bastards will try again.
But on Tuesday night, the state’s Republican-held Legislature overrode Mr. Brownback’s veto of a bill that would undo some of the tax cuts he pushed. The state Senate and House moved swiftly, narrowly voting only hours apart to turn back Mr. Brownback’s rejection of a tax increase aimed at raising about $1.2 billion over two years.
It was a remarkable rejection of the state’s tax-cutting approach after years of mounting uncertainty and unhappiness in Kansas over whether the tax cuts were working. That led to all-out revolt by Republican lawmakers who had grown increasingly frustrated over limits on the state’s spending on education and over state budget shortfalls.
For Mr. Brownback, a onetime presidential candidate who has grown increasingly isolated in Kansas, it was a devastating blow — a final rejection by some of his allies for his centerpiece doctrine.
The governor’s supporters in the Legislature were “very sad and defeated,” she said, and the legislators who voted to override Mr. Brownback felt they had no choice but to raise taxes. Ms. Sykes was among those voting to override.
“The governor is a true believer,” she said. “Being governor was all about his tax plan. And he really believed it was the right step. But as many of us have seen, it was not. We had to take a vote to say no and say, ‘This is not the right direction.’ I don’t know how the governor doesn’t see that.”
When she reads messages from constituents in her suburban Kansas City district, she said, they sound a similar, pleading note. ”Email after email after email I get from constituents,” she said, “say, ‘Please, let’s stop this experiment.’”
Jim Ward, the Democratic leader in the Kansas House of Representatives, said there was “great relief and excitement” among lawmakers.
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I think Arthur Laffer is a true believer, too, although I could be wrong. When he was first selling his theory in the Reagan years, he explained that if you have a zero tax rate you have zero revenue and if you have a 100% tax rate (he wasn't talking about a progressive tax scheme) you have zero revenue because nobody will work if you take all their rewards away from them. Then he assumed that your revenue can be charted by a quadratic equation, which is a curve with a single maximum point. Then he claimed that for all other tax rates (again, not talking about a progressive tax scheme with varying marginal rates) there were two possible rates that would produce the same government revenue, a high rate and a low rate. Then he made the completely unrelated and contradictory assertion that a lower tax rate will always produce more government revenue. By his own description, there is only one rate that will produce the most government revenue. Any other rate, higher or lower, will produce less. Two top economists, Piketty and Saez, did a very lengthy analysis and came to the conclusion that the best tax rate would be around 70%. Brownback and Laffer are in complete denial and try to present obviously false arguments that some agency will change the math so lowering taxes always produces more revenue. Sad.
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