A Tale of Two Tax Cuts (it’s actually the same cuts, just two different realities)

The subject here is Kansas headlong dive into supply-side economics.   For a quick refresher, here’s how these same economic ideas failed the nation, when it was used for the same experiment (see also here).

So…where are we now….

There was a windstorm of hasty excuses in recent weeks after Kansas reported that it took in $338 million less than expected in the 2014 fiscal year and would have to dip heavily into a reserve fund. Spending wasn’t cut enough, said conservatives. Too many rich people sold off stock in the previous year, state officials said. It’s the price of creating jobs, said Gov. Sam Brownback.

None of those reasons were correct. There was only one reason for the state’s plummeting revenues, and that was the spectacularly ill-advised income tax cuts that Mr. Brownback and his fellow Republicans engineered in 2012 and 2013. The cuts, which largely benefited the wealthy, cost the state 8 percent of the revenue it needs for schools and other government services. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, that’s about the same as the effect of a midsize recession. Moody’s cut the state’s debt rating in April for the first time in at least 13 years, citing the cuts and a lack of confidence in the state’s fiscal management.

[full story]

Gov. Brownback also claimed these massive tax cuts would create jobs.  That hasn’t worked out like he said, either.

Using the federal agency’s data, The Star compiled percentages of seasonally adjusted, nonfarm total job growth for Kansas, its four bordering states, a few other Midwestern states, Texas (no income tax), New York (extremely high income tax), and the U.S. average from January 2011 through June 30, 2014.

Texas, 10.5 percent

Colorado, 9.2 percent

Oklahoma, 6.5 percent

U.S. average, 6.1 percent

Iowa, 5.0 percent

New York, 4.8 percent

Missouri, 4.1 percent

Nebraska, 3.8 percent

Kansas, 3.5 percent

Arkansas, 1.9 percent

Kansas has had one of the nation’s poorest rates of employment growth during Brownback’s time in office, including since the first tax cuts took effect in 2013.

There also some more nice charts here on Kansas’ decline, and they include this little bit here…..
Keep in mind that these are actual year-over-year declines in revenues, not shortfalls in projected revenue. And they came at a time when the national economy was recovering (albeit slowly) and most other states were enjoying strong pickups in tax collections.
So while nearly everyone else in country is experiencing a recovery of revenue as the economy recovers, Kansas is stuck drawing down its reserves in order to not tax businesses any more.

BTW…can you guess where Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the U.S., is headquartered?     C’mon guess.

And guess what one of the big tax cuts Brownback pushed was?   C’mon guess.

So…knowing who it is that pushed these tax cuts…is it any wonder at all that their media operatives completely ignore all of this data and continue to claim that tax cuts always work?
By Stephen Moore, of Falls Church, Va., is chief economist at the Heritage Foundation. A version of this piece first appeared in Investors Business Daily.

Ok…I was going to quote the article by Stephen Moore, who is the poster-child for magical tax cuts claims…however, in between the time I first read that article and now, it appears they’ve gotten so many complaints that Moore’s numbers were made up they had to post a correction.

Let me repeat…this guy, Stephen Moore, had to have his job numbers corrected because he was lying about them.    Which leads to the general awareness that they only way conservative math even “works” is WHEN YOU ARE LYING.

So now we’ve seen the same “cut taxes to generate growth” b.s. blown away on both the national stage and on the state level.

California did the exact opposite of Kansas. In 2012, when California was in a dire budget crisis, voters passed a critical ballot initiative undoing the state’s requirement of a two-thirds supermajority vote in the legislature to raise taxes. Through the initiative, California voters passed tax increases for everyone, including the rich, marginally increasing the sales tax while creating new income tax brackets of 10.3 percent for those who earned between $250,000 and $300,000; 11.3 percent for taxpayers who made anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000; 12.3 percent for incomes of $500,000 to $1,000,000; and 13.3 percent for all incomes above $1,000,000. The richest Californians would barely notice it, given the immense wealth in California’s major economic hubs like Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the wine country.

After monitoring the results, the New Jersey Policy Perspective, a non-partisan think tank, found that California’s tax increases are paying off big time. The state’s coffers will gain approximately $6.8 billion in new revenue every year, all of which will be invested in public education. California saw 2.9 percent job growth in 2013, making it the third fastest-growing economy in the US.

[SIDE NOTE:  I called this back in 2012]

Koch-sas Feels the Heat

On Sunday, May 4th, the temperature in Wichita peaked at 102°F — breaking just about every kind of heat record kept. It was not only the hottest May 4 on record, it was the hottest temperature ever recorded for the month of May. Before Sunday, the earliest date Wichita has seen 102°F was June 4, 1933 — a whole month later in the season.

via From Snow To Sweat: Kansas Skips Spring | ThinkProgress.

I’m pretty sure the Kochs got a law passed on Kansas that directly prohibits global warming, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Kansas was also recently downgraded by Moody’s, because, well, basing your state’s economy on ideological fantasies looks really bad when rational people run the numbers.

 — Plummeting revenues, underfunded pensions and millions in court-ordered school spending led Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday to cut the state’s credit rating by a notch.

The ratings agency slightly lowered the state’s

credit rating because of mounting financial pressure on the Kansas state budget, partly from massive income tax cuts that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law in 2012 and 2013.

[full story]

Kansas….that’s the joke.

Kansas tax act most regressive in nation / LJWorld.com —

Equally important, the act dramatically changes the Kansas tax system, shifting the income tax burden from the wealthy and prosperous to working people. The act provides that all income of business owners is tax-free (except in the unusual case where a regular corporation is used). Although the act was promoted as a boost to small business, there is no limit on the size of business that can be exempt from tax. Income of professionals — such as doctors, lawyers, architects, and accountants —practicing in partnerships will be tax-free. In a law firm, for example, the partners will pay no tax, while the clerical staff will continue on the tax rolls. Income received from partnerships and trusts will be tax-free. Wealthy Kansans who own real estate, stocks, bonds and other investments will simply transfer those assets to a partnership or trust, thereby freeing all their investment income from tax. All income of farmers will be exempt from tax. Who will still be paying Kansas income tax?Only three groups: 1) employees, 2) some retirees and 3) individuals whose investments are so modest that they cannot afford to create a trust or partnership to shelter their investment income.

This will be curious to watch. I think you’ll see a lot of paper flying, as a lot of firms “re-locate”, we’ll probably see a state GDP uptick on paper…and a massive drop off in tax revenue and quality of life for the other 90%. Other states will also lose revenue, as anything that can be funneled through Kansan shell companies will be. And lawsuits will rule the day as the real Kansan economy crumbles in under 5 years. Or maybe not…extreme test cases are always curious. It took nearly 7 years for the largest tax cuts in U.S. history (Bush 2001-3) to crush the economy and cause a debt “crisis” and downgrade. However, in that case you started with a fundamentally strong economy (U.S. economy circa 2000), not one already failing (Kansas 2012). — http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/may/27/kansas-tax-act-most-regressive-nation/

Kansas Governor (one of those “small government Republicans) pays someone to monitor Twitter for bad things about him…picking up from there….(UPDATED: Governor Apologizes…for his staff…)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback is rejecting her high school principal’s demand that she apologize.

Emma Sullivan told The Associated Press on Sunday that she’s not sorry and an apology letter wouldn’t be sincere.

via Teen whose tweet about Kan. gov. got her in trouble at school refuses to write apology letter – The Washington Post.

If you don’t know this backstory…here’s the deal.

This is a silly little story.  Hopefully it will get bigger, as folks realize how disturbing this whole turn of events actually is.

UPDATE: This ended well.

“My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize,” Brownback said in a statement Monday. “Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.”

The reaction exemplifies what Bradley Shear, a Washington, D.C.-area social media attorney, called an example of the nationwide chasm between government officials and rapidly evolving technology.

“This reflects poorly on the governor’s office,” Shear said. “It demonstrates their P.R. department and whoever is dealing with these issues need to get a better understanding of social media in the social media age. The biggest problem is government disconnect and a lack of understanding of how people use the technology.”

Brownback’s office declined to discuss its social media monitoring in detail, but politicians and governmental offices across the county are increasingly keeping an eye on the Internet for mentions of their campaigns or policies, not unlike the way newspapers and television broadcasts have been watched for decades.

[full story]

I hate it when “personal responsibility” folks blame things on their staff…which ostensibly are following their orders and protocols.

There was a curious statement later in the follow-up, I’d like to highlight…

The Shawnee Mission School District said Monday it was no long seeking a letter from Sullivan.

“Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved,” the statement said. “The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media. The district does not intend to take any further action on this matter.”

And the most important one here is that government is watching you.   But the lesson now is not one of fear, but one of action: Don’t watch what you say, watch what they say, and then what they do…and if you think they #blowalot, let the world know.

Changing the World, Internet Style

So there’s been an ongoing battle in the United States over the nature of our knowledge. Which is to say, how we communicate our knowledge to the next generation of Americans. While the vast majority of this battleground is decided, there is a persistent hotspot regarding the nature of Human Creation.

Or perhaps I should more accurately say, human evolution.

I’m not going to go into all the details right now, but basically all life on this planet is related. Small genetic changes over time have led to different species, including our own. That’s basically it. If I had to reduce it to a verse or two to hand down verbally over many generations, that’s how I’d say it.

If I didn’t have knowledge of genetics and DNA and all the evidence that supports their existence and the theories and science surrounding them, I might instead reduce all human knowledge to something poetic. Maybe along the line of …

24 ¶ And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, 1 Cor. 11.7 after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Mt. 19.4 · Mk. 10.6

[more here]

That’s pretty much all background information for the meat of this story, which is how the Internet is helping us help each other teach the next generation a…shall we say…more enlightened understanding of how we came to be we.

As mentioned previously, the topic of the battleground is Evolution. The location of the battleground is Kansas. The time of the battleground is the Election.

And so bOINGbOING gets the ball rolling…

Progressive geek looking for 3,000 people to help him win Kansas election against dinosauric anti-science/pro-surveillance dude


Sean Tevis is a geeky geek from Kansas who’s fed up with his state rep, an anti-abortion, anti-evolution, pro-censorship, pro-surveillance, anti-gay incumbent. Tevis — an unknown — is polling within three points of his opponent, and is looking to raise some Internet dough to kick this guy’s (extremely tight) ass, and to promote his cause, he’s made a fantastic, XKCD-style toon called “It’s Like A Flamewar with a Forum Troll, but with an Eventual Winner.” Specifically, he’s looking to raise $8.34 from 3,000 people (no state rep in Kansas history has ever had more than 644 donors). I’m in*. Who’s with me? Link (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)*Actually, I’m not. I’m a dirty foreigner and I’m not allowed to meddle in American elections. Someone else donate $8.34 to this guy for me, OK?

Which then got picked up by Digg.

And somebody on Kos mentioned it. If it involves fundraising and progressive causes, Kos is going to be a part of the solution.

Anyway, all of that led to this.

UPDATE!

Backup

Donate

We’ve met our goal to run a competitive campaign, but you can help us win. It’s for an excellent cause, you’ll be making history, and you will be greatly appreciated.

…which is awesome.

You can read the whole story, XKCD-style here.

We’ll keep you updated on the story of this guy…

And his fight to help make things a little bit better in one way or another.

/Sean Tevis pimping over.


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Supernintendo Chalmers Wins NCAA Title

Rock Shock: Chalmers’ heroics give Kansas title | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

SAN ANTONIO –- Michael Jordan, move over. Lorenzo Charles, Keith Smart, step aside. Kansas’ Mario Chalmers just pulled your favorite trick, but with a twist.

Chalmers hit a jumper to win the national title.

The thing is, the game didn’t end for another five minutes.

Chalmers hit his three-pointer with two seconds left to force overtime and stun Memphis. When he nailed it, Chalmers ran over to the Jayhawks bench to celebrate like he’d won a championship. He must have known something the rest of us did not. It must be nice when your ESP tells you you’re going to star on ESPN.

Chalmers led the Jayhawks in overtime with an alley-oop pass to Darrell Arthur and two crucial free throws. The free throws might not sound so impressive, but they were.

Just ask Memphis.

Heckuva game last night.  Memphis panicked at precisely the wrong moment.  I mean, c’mon, your’re up by 3 with 9 seconds left and the other team has the ball….FOUL THEM!!