To make up for the loss, Brownback is now pushing some unpopular proposals: He wants the Kansas legislature to make permanent what was supposed to be a temporary increase in the state sales tax, and he wants to eliminate two popular deductions, including the state write-off for home-mortgage interest payments. He’s getting major pushback to those proposals from traditional allies, including the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
Brownback is still convinced that his tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves by spurring economic growth, but time isn’t on his side. In January, a Kansas court ruled that Brownback’s education budget was unconstitutional and ordered the Governor to boost school funding by $400 million. The court said it was “illogical” for the state to argue that it couldn’t adequately fund schools at the same time it slashed income taxes. Also in January: Bloomberg reported Kansas’ uncertain budget outlook had hurt its standing in the bond markets.
Brownback’s standing with voters is hurting as well. The independent, nonpartisan Public Policy Polling survey in February found Brownback, who is up for re-election next year, had a negative-15 job approval rating, with 37 precent of Kansas voters approving and 52 percent disapproving of his performance as governor.
Tax cuts are easy promises for politicians to make, even when they run counter to the economic interests of the majority of people they serve. What’s the matter with Kansas could become a Hoosier storyline under Gov. Pence: What’s the matter with Indiana?
— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at email@example.com