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Brownback's Kansas: Good Example or Horrible Warning?

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No More Mister Nice Blog:

Brownback's Kansas: Good Example or Horrible Warning?: I've told you, and others have told you, that cutting or eliminating state income taxes (which tend to be somewhat progressive) is all the rage among GOP governors, as is raising sales taxes (which fall disproportionately on the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class, because the more of your paycheck you have to spend to live, the more they get to tax you). Bobby Jindal is a big fan of this approach (he wants to eliminate all income and corporate taxes in Louisiana) -- and you know he wants to be president.

So it's not a surprise to read what I'm reading in The Wall Street Journal this morning: that Republicans -- bizarrely -- think this approach could win them the White House four years from now.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Even if he doesn't enter the race himself, this state's Republican governor, Sam Brownback, is determined to play a starring role in the next presidential election. How? By turning Kansas into what he calls Exhibit A for how sharp cuts in taxes and government spending can generate jobs, wean residents off public aid and spur economic growth. "My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, 'See, we've got a different way, and it works,' " Mr. Brownback said in a recent interview….

Jamelle Bouie notes:

As for the top 1 percent of Kansans? Their tax burden will decrease by $21,087 a year, or a little less than the state poverty line for a two-person household. Is this actually meant to appeal to voters? Or is it meant to appeal primarily to Republican donors? I suspect it's the latter -- as I said yesterday, Wall Street donors want the GOP running on fiscal policy rather than social issues, and many Republicans really, really want to do what these donors would like them to do….

Consider what the Journal story says about Brownback's plan:

the governor faces an array of challenges. His income-tax cuts, which took the top rate from 6.45% to 4.9% at the start of the year and are targeted to hit 3.5% by 2017, are projected to leave a significant hole in next year's state budget, which starts in July…. To make up for the revenue drop, the governor is pushing to preserve what was meant to be a temporary increase in the state sales tax, and to eliminate two popular deductions, including the state write-off for home-mortgage interest payments…. He also wants to transfer more than $100 million from a state highway fund to cover other expenses.

Seriously? This guy wants the party (and, probably, himself) to pursue the White House in 2016 on a plan that eliminates state home mortgage deductions? As well as keeping sales taxes high and allowing roads and bridges to crumble?…

Mr. Brownback and others believe the tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves by drawing in new businesses and stirring job growth…

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