In 2010, the wave of support for Tea Party candidates put Sam Brownback into the state of Kansas’s governor’s mansion and Republican majorities to its legislature. Together, they implemented the conservative movement’s blueprint for Utopia: They passed massive tax breaks for the wealthy and repealed all income taxes on more than 100,000 businesses. They tightened welfare requirements, privatized the delivery of Medicaid, cut $200 million from the education budget, eliminated four state agencies and 2,000 government employees.
Gov. Brownback’s 2013 tax plan, which he promised would generate $323 million in new revenues, did not materialize. In 2015, six school districts were forced to end their years early for lack of funding, and 1,414 Kansans with disabilities were thrown off Medicaid. Later, the tax receipts came in $53 million below estimates. As a result, Brownback cut an additional $17 million from the state university system.
Clearly Brownback’s solution to Kansas’s budget problem is not a solution at all. Brownback told the Wall Street Journal, “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.’” Is this the model we want to make America great again?
Eric Levitz, “The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did to Kansas and Louisiana,” New York Magazine, March 16, 2016, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/03/gop-must-answer-for-what-it-did-to-kansas.html
Edward M. Eveld, “Gov. Sam Brownback cuts higher education as Kansas tax receipts fall $53 million short,” Kansas City Star, March 1, 2016, http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article63347152.html
Student Researcher: Matthew Q. Macias, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University