February 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Employment falls in Laura Kelly’s tax-and-spend economy

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The March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Governor Laura Kelly’s tax-and-spend economy lost 4,800 private-sector jobs in February and March.  That ranked Kansas #49 among the states, with only Alaska losing a larger portion of its private-sector employment base.

The sobering news comes in the same week that Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a tax relief bill that would have made the Sunflower State more competitive and put $1.4 billion back in taxpayers’ pockets over three years.  States with lower tax burdens consistently outperform on economic growth and population gains from domestic migration, and Kansas is only falling farther behind in its fifth straight decade of economic stagnation.

Kelly is only too happy to give enormous subsidies to a handful of companies, including almost $1 billion to Panasonic, so she can attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies and give the impression she cares about taxpayers and the state’s economy.  But vetoing legislation that gives everyone a break on income, sales, and property taxes once again demonstrates her determination to grow government with unnecessarily high taxes.

In short, she understands the importance of lower taxes but only when she’s the one making the decisions and gets political benefit. She trusts her Lt. Gov. Dave Toland to hand out tax goodies but doesn’t trust you to spend that same dollar for yourself.

Governor Kelly’s excuse that SB 169 is fiscally unsustainable is absurd, as shown by this analysis from Kansas Legislative Research.  After four years of SB 169 being implemented, Kansas would still have a $1.7 billion surplus…and that assumes spending would increase by $1 billion over the next four years.

No one can look at these numbers and pretend that SB 169 was unstainable.  Fiscal responsibility wasn’t the issue for Kelly and the legislators who voted against the bill.

Senator Carolyn McGinn deserves credit for re-examining the forecast and changing her vote to override Kelly’s veto yesterday, but then petty politics on the part of a few Senators killed SB 169 for good (more on that coming soon).

Several Senators, including some Republicans, continued to hide behind the sustainability façade.  And in doing so, they consciously chose to make the lowest earners – people whose best interests they claim to represent – pay more in sales, property, and income tax.


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