Kansas had one of the worst economies in the Midwest when, in June 2017, its state legislature reversed former Gov. Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax cuts for the wealthy. And according to CNBC America’s Top States for Business study, Kansas is now the state with the most improved economy in the U.S. and is enjoying a budget surplus.
In 2018, Kansas’ economy came in at an embarrassing #45 in the Top States for Business study and at #35 overall — and since then, it has improved by 16 points in general as well as by 16 points in the economy category, according to CNBC.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a centrist Democrat, was delighted with the news, telling CNBC, “We are returning to our roots as a very progressive, thoughtful, forward-looking state.” The Democrat went on to say, “Kansas, for years now, has been at the low end of all economic metrics. That’s changing.”
The economic problems that Kansas suffered under Brownback’s watch were the exact opposite of what the far-right Republican claimed would happen. When the GOP-controlled state legislature dramatically cut taxes for Kansas’ wealthiest residents and its largest businesses and Brownback signed the tax cuts into law, Republicans insisted that the state would boom economically. Instead, Kansas’ economy plummeted, and in 2017, a combination of Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature reversed the tax cuts.
Brownback, who resigned as governor in January 2018, was wildly unpopular during his final year in office. According to a Morning Consult poll, his approval rating was only 25% in July 2017. In contrast, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker — a Republican in a very Democratic state where Sen. Elizabeth Warren was reelected by a landslide in 2018 — enjoyed 71% approval in that poll and was cited as the most popular governor in the United States.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Kansas had a $351 million revenue shortfall for fiscal year 2018. But with the reversal of Brownback’s tax cuts having taken effect, Kansas now has a budget surplus.
However, some Republicans in Kansas’ state legislature are pushing to restore some of the tax cuts and are arguing that the problem with Brownback’s economic program wasn’t the tax cuts — it was a failure to reduce spending.
A major shock in Kansas politics occurred in 2018 when the deeply Republican state elected a Democratic governor: Kelly, who defeated far-right Republican gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach (Kansas’ former secretary of state and a one-time promoter of the racist “birther” conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama wasn’t really born in the United States).
Although Kansas’ economy has improved, according to CNBC’s study, Kelly stressed that there is still work to be done in that state.
“We will be studying our entire tax structure because it’s way out of whack right now,” Kelly told CNBC. “We want to take us back to what works for Kansas, which is really essentially what we call the three-legged stool: balance out our property taxes, our sales tax and our income taxes.”
Republicans know Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath — they just don’t care
Republicans know Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. They just don't care.
The debate over whether the most recent Supreme Court justice perjured himself during his Senate hearing last year — which would be an impeachable offense — fired up again over the weekend, after New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly published new evidence confirming stories that Kavanaugh whipped out his penis on not just one, but perhaps two non-consenting women as a student at Yale in the 1980s. The article was promoting Pogrebin and Kelly's new book, "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation," which showcases a year's worth of in-depth research into Kavanaugh's past. They interviewed many witnesses the FBI overlooked during its own investigation of Kavanaugh's background.
We now know Senate Republicans sandbagged the FBI’s investigation of Kavanaugh
Two days before Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, I wrote that the Republicans were poisoning its legitimacy and the Democrats must redeem it. I said doing so required questioning the high court’s integrity, foremost the integrity of the “due process” that was installing Brett Kavanaugh. On October 4, 2018, I wrote:
There is in fact a growing nonpartisan consensus that [Kavanaugh is] not only unfit. He’s a liability for a court whose legitimacy has been increasingly in doubt. … This means the Democrats are on solid ground for any attempt to reform the court to restore its credibility. The question isn’t whether they should. The question is how.
The ‘divine right’ presidency: Trump has identified the USA with himself and claimed unprecedented powers to do whatever he wants
Trump’s latest use of our government to cover up his mistakes, this time about weather forecasting, is revealing about the nature of his Presidency.
No government weather maps showed Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama. On Thursday, August 29, Trump was briefed in the Oval Office on the Hurricane by the head of FEMA, which released a photo of him looking at a map of where Dorian had been and where it was headed. A white curved line showed the areas that Dorian might possibly hit. Not Alabama.