Sam Brownback’s usefulness as the governor of Kansas is over. It’s time for him to resign.
Brownback has near-zero credibility in leading the state on any crucial issue. He’s the lamest of lame ducks as an elected official. And he’s one of the least popular governors in America for good reasons.
Last week the Legislature finally and convincingly rolled back the irresponsible income tax cuts and unfair tax exemptions for owners of 330,000 LLCs that Brownback had championed in 2012.
Subsequent events proved the tax reductions were unqualified disasters.
As I tried to chronicle pretty much month after month since early 2014, jobs did not come close to surging as Brownback promised. And the state’s revenues declined sharply, then never had a healthy recovery.
Brownback’ signature fiscal policy has done lasting and great damage to Kansas’ K-12 schools, higher educational institutions, roads, social services, public pensions and the reputation of the Sunflower State on the national stage. The new income tax increases approved last week should at least restore some semblance of normality to public services for 3 million Kansans.
If Brownback leaves office, he would open the way for Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to preside as the chief executive until January 2019.
Colyer is not nearly the kind of progressive leader Kansas needs at this crucial time. Still, his elevation would remove Brownback’s political stench from the office of governor, with a wide open race for the seat to follow in 2018.
Brownback’s recent and continued complaints that the tax cuts weren’t given enough time to work — and that new tax increases will hurt Kansas workers — reveal him to be still delusional about what’s going on in the state. (Secretary of State Kris Kobach last week announced his run for governor touting the same nonsense. He must be beaten in 2018, lest he drag Kansas back through the mud.)
Brownback’s low-tax mantra regrettably had been championed by many other Republican office holders and conservative commentators across the United States since 2012. Even worse for America’s future, Donald Trump is now singing from the same tax-cut hymnal. Fortunately, the failure in Kansas of the tax cuts has drawn national attention in recent days.
Brownback over the last six months has been touted for several jobs in the Trump administration. One would be as ambassador at-large for religious freedom. Another would be as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for food and agriculture.
The destruction of Brownback’s tax-cut policy makes him the kind of big-time loser who would fit right in with the woeful administration of Donald Trump.
It’s high time that Trump — or someone else — take Brownback off the hands of Kansas residents.
If no job offer is forthcoming, Brownback should do the right thing and simply resign.