The Kansas City Star editorial board has a bridge it’d like to sell Missouri lawmakers, and they use an actual closed bridge as a metaphor to make their sales pitch. An editorial leads readers to believe the Lewis and Clark on I-70 in Kansas City, Kansas, is closed because Kansas cut taxes in 2012.
The editorial, entitled “‘The Bridge to Kansas:’ Why Hasn’t Missouri Learned from Brownback’s Tax Cut Mistakes,” begins with a quote from Democratic Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway. She believes Missouri is “starting to walk toward the bridge to Kansas.”
“She didn’t mean that literally. At least one bridge from Missouri to Kansas is now closed for two years. No walking across that,” the editorial reads. “…She’s referring, of course, to the Kansas five-year budget debacle.”
The story doesn’t mention which bridge is closed; it links to a story about the Lewis and Clark bridge closure, but leaves the reader with the false impression that Brownback shuttered bridges because of income tax breaks. In reality, westbound lanes of the bridge that connects KCK to Missouri will be closed for two years for $64 million in repairs, funded by the state of Kansas.
To their credit, the writers flirt with the truth about the Kansas tax cuts, by correctly noting Kansas officials cut taxes but refused to cut spending.
“In 2012, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback also offered so called ‘pay-fors.’ But they were dropped in the rush to pass tax cuts, resulting in the nationally-known Kansas tax and spending calamity,” the editorial reads.
No one uses that terminology, “Kansas tax and spending calamity,” least of all Star writers. Most stories about the Brownback tax cuts, including the editorial in which that term suddenly appears, largely ignore Kansas’ spending problem and instead, focus on the tax cut part of the state’s budget equation.
If they were completely honest, Star editorial writers would simply explain they believe the state can spend citizens’ money better than they can. However, they never couch their love of tax increases and state spending in those terms. Instead, they wrap themselves up in faulty metaphors.
“Cutting taxes is popular, but it’s a risky way to run state government,” the Star editorial board warns. Like a bridge to nowhere, they fail to reach the obvious conclusion that cutting spending is a key component to a successful tax cut.