The bulk of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cut plan took effect in January 2013. So how has it done in spurring new jobs, the No. 1 reason he and the Legislature approved the tax reductions?
On Monday, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest, revised employment statistics for Kansas and the rest of the country, through this January.
Here are facts related to the Sunflower State’s employment gains during the four-year span of January 2013 through January 2017, gleaned from reports from the 50 states. All statistics are for total nonfarm jobs, the broadest measure of employment.
— Kansas added only 43,400 jobs in that span for a puny growth rate of 3.2 percent.
So much for Brownback’s 2014 statement, “The sun is shining in Kansas, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.”
— Overall, Kansas had the 10th worst rate of job growth over the four-year period. The only states with a lower rates were Alaska, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
— The U.S. average growth rate was a far more robust 7.6 percent for the same time.
— Missouri gained 177,600 in employment over the four years for a strong growth rate of 6.6 percent.
— Other neighbors of Kansas did better, too, with the exception of Oklahoma at 1.8 percent. But Colorado posted a 12.0 percent job surge and Nebraska had a 4.7 percent rate.
— Among U.S. states with the highest income tax rates — remember Brownback’s “march to zero” that was going to lead to a flood of jobs? — almost all did far better than Kansas in gaining jobs the last four years.
They included Oregon at 12.2 percent growth, California 11.3 percent, followed by Hawaii, New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, Iowa and Maine.
Only Vermont among the highest income tax states added jobs slightly more slowly than Kansas did.
— Of the nine U.S. states with no or little income taxes, all but two did better than the Sunflower State in boosting employment since January 2013.
The losers were Wyoming and Alaska.
Others on the list were all in positive territory: Florida and Nevada at 14.2 percent, followed by Washington, Texas, Tennessee, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
Here are two more notable points:
In the last year, when the income tax cuts might be working their “magic” the best, Kansas actually has done worse than all but six other states. Kansas lost 2,400 total nonfarm jobs from January 2016 to January 2017.
And in the last two years — in Brownback’s second term, in which he pledged to boost employment by 25,000 jobs a year — Kansas has actually gained only 10,400 total nonfarm jobs. That’s only 5,200 a year, or about 20 percent of the governor’s goal.
Saying it again: The tax cuts did not lead to the predicted surge in jobs. Worse, as has been copiously documented since 2013, the tax reductions have led to huge and ongoing budget problems for the Sunflower State.