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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Yet More Bad News For Kansans

Bad news seems to keep pouring out of Kansas. This hit yesterday:

Kansas State Finance Council issues record $840 million debt certificate

Gov. Sam Brownback and top legislators voted Friday to issue a record $840 million certificate of indebtedness for the upcoming fiscal year despite adoption of massive Kansas tax increases to boost revenue.

The 2015 legislative session came to a close as the State Finance Council accepted conclusions of the governor’s budget director that state government would have insufficient resources “for certain periods” to meet expenditures in the fiscal year starting July 1.

The previous record for short-term borrowing of “idle” state funds was set during the 2009 fiscal year as national recession crashed state revenue and deep cuts couldn’t stem the budget crisis. Three certificates were issued by the council to borrow $775 million. That foreshadowed a 1-cent, three-year increase in the statewide sales tax in 2010.

Kansas Governor Under Investigation For Campaign Finance Irregularities

One year ago at this time, the council approved a debt certificate of $675 million for the current fiscal year. Brownback had promised the state’s fiscal fortunes would improve, but legislators returned in January to confront a revenue shortfall requiring a series of mid-year budget adjustments.

Those same lawmakers followed that action this month by approving tax increases of more than $400 million to close a projected deficit in the 2016 fiscal year. Brownback signed into law bills raising the cigarette and general sales taxes, shrinking itemized deductions and imposing a tax on managed care organizations. He is required by the legislation to make $50 million in budget cuts.

On Friday, Democratic lawmakers gathered in the Capitol for sine die — typically a ceremonial final day of the annual session — expressed exasperation with expansion of the state’s debt position. This type of debt must be repaid by June 30, 2016.

House Democratic Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said escalation in borrowing illustrated the precarious financial condition of state government.

He said the root causes were decisions in 2012 by Brownback and the GOP-led Legislature to exempt 330,000 businesses from the income tax and to reduce individual income tax rates.

“This is a direct result of Governor Brownback’s failed fiscal experiment,” Burroughs said. “Until members of the Legislature take steps to implement a responsible and sustainable budget, the state will continue to be forced to borrow money to cover expenditures.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said “incompetence and mismanagement” of the budget led to a trifecta during the 2015 session.

Here's the "money line", so to speak.

“Governor Brownback and the Republican Legislature are responsible for the longest session in history, the largest tax increase in history and, now, the largest certificate of indebtedness in history,” Hensley said.

Then, if that weren't enough, this just hit today, about an hour ago:

The state's overall tax collections were $22.5 million less than forecast in June, Kansas officials said Tuesday.

The shortfall follows signing by Gov. Sam Brownback of bills adopted by the Republican-led Legislature raising taxes by more than $400 million annually to allow for a balanced budget in the fiscal year starting July 1.

So the good Governor's "supply side", Right Wing, very Republican "trickle down economics" plan which cuts the tax rates of the wealthy and business shows again it just doesn't work.  Then, not only does it not work, time and again in the US since President Reagan's brilliance brought out all those 30 years ago but it continues to still create worse and worse problems for the sunflower state.

While the state's motto is Per aspera ad astra, I don't think anyone thought it should be "to the stars through difficulty" that Kansans are to create and bring on themselves.

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