Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer recommends expanding Kansas industries and bring in more money through exports in order to add revenue to the state’s coffers. It sounds good on paper, but making that a reality often requires free market policy positions anathema to the Democratic Party.
In fact, Brewer’s suggestion sounds a lot like Gov. Sam Brownback’s objectives in lowering income tax rates eventually rolling them to zero and eliminating taxes on pass-throughs.
On a campaign stop in Topeka, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brewer said the state needs to “work aggressively at exporting the goods that we have here.”
The Topeka Capital-Journal, which covered Brewer’s campaign stop, didn’t report (or maybe Brewer didn’t say) exactly how he intends to do that. However, allowing businesses to use more of their profits in order to expand operations or allowing individuals to keep more of their own money so they can invest in their own businesses seems like one such solution.
Most of the business growth in Kansas before and after the 2012 tax reforms was in the form of pass-through businesses, or sole proprietorships, S-corps, and LLCs. Between 2013 and 2014, pass-through entities represented 82 percent of all private sector growth in the state. That marked an acceleration of the rate of private sector growth. In fact, the rate of growth increased threefold after Kansas’ tax reform.
But Brewer said Brownback’s tax reform cost the state revenue, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that the tax reform fueled some of the exact types of growth Brewer says he would like to see if elected Governor.
The hope-y, change-y siren song of simply adding new businesses or enticing businesses to export more of the products they produce makes a great sound byte. Limiting regulations and lowering tax rates encourage businesses to grow. Short of a magic trick, it’s difficult to imagine what other policies the next Governor could adopt to expand the private sector.
Brewer is one of a handful of Democratic candidates running for Kansas Governor. Other Democrats seeking the nomination include Josh Svaty and Jim Ward.