The state of Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback's right-wing economic program and handling of the state finances have reached comedic levels of absurdity, is now also failing at a key economic test: Keeping up with the neighboring state.
In his latest column, Kansas City Star opinion writer Yael Abouhalkah, a strong critic of Brownback's who has made a regular beat of busting the governor and his advocates, highlights the newest data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which show the disparity in job numbers between the Kansas and Missouri sides of the Kansas City metro area.
"The data, in fact, are extremely discouraging for Brownback and the few remaining people who thought his tax cuts would act like a jobs magnet for the Sunflower State," writes Abouhalkah. "The bottom line: Missouri gained employment almost five times faster than Kansas in the metro region over the full year from February 2015 to February 2016."
The Missouri side of the state line added 13,900 total jobs from February 2015 to February 2016, a local rate of 2.4 percent. By contrast, the Kansas side added just 2,200 jobs, a rate of just 0.5 percent. (The Missouri side of metro area is slightly larger than the Kansas side to begin with.)
Earlier this year, Brownback was still boasting of his goal of cutting taxes in order to bring jobs into the Kansas side of the metro area, by cutting taxes and containing public spending: “This is the basic philosophy of what we’re trying to get done in Kansas.”