Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | 2 a.m.
The Republican gospel of cutting taxes and government services to the bone doesn’t lead to economic growth; it leads to crisis and decline. Just ask the people of Kansas, who finally have seen the light.
If House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell don’t heed the Kansas lesson, they deserve to have their majorities stripped away in next year’s midterms. And they won’t be able to claim they weren’t warned.
The states are supposed to be laboratories for testing government policy. For five years, Kansas’ Republican governor, Sam Brownback, conducted the nation’s most radical exercise in trickle-down economics — a “real live experiment,” he called it. He and the GOP-controlled Legislature slashed the state’s already-low tax rates, eliminated state income tax for most owner-operated businesses and sharply reduced vital government services. These measures were supposed to deliver “a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,” Brownback said.
It ended up being a shot of poison. Growth rates lagged behind those in neighboring states and the nation as a whole. Deficits mounted to unsustainable levels. Services withered. Brownback had set in motion a vicious cycle, not a virtuous one.
Last week, finally, the Legislature — still controlled by Republicans — overrode Brownback’s veto of legislation restoring taxation to sane levels. The nightmare experiment is coming to an end.
The return to sane taxation will go a long way toward erasing a billion-dollar deficit. More revenue-raising measures may be needed,…
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