The dictionary tells us that conservative means moderate, traditional and regarding proposals for change with distrust. Our heritage of Kansas conservatism has served us pretty well.
When Gov. Brownback took office he declared we must change the state tax structure. He decried the time of Gov. Sebelius and Gov. Parkinson as a lost decade when the state fell behind the nation and had no private sector job growth. This was false.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of private sector jobs when Governor Brownback took office was 1,053,000 compared to 1,050,000 when Governor Sebelius took office. This very small increase out-performed the national figures which decreased from 108,949,000 to 108,554,000 over the same time period. What happened in the interim was considerable national job growth due to the under-regulated mortgage debacle. With the market correction in 2008 these jobs evaporated. Kansas jobs did not bloat with this false wealth and so did not suffer as much with the crash. It is one of the traditional benefits of Kansas conservatism.
Gov. Brownback falsely claimed his radical change to the state tax structure was Kansas conservatism. He wrongly depicted our conservative economy, which served us well during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, as broken. He provided isolated examples that showed some high income individuals would pay more in his proposed income tax overhaul. When forced by the senate president, he had to reveal that as a group high income individuals would pay less and low income individuals would pay more income taxes.
The governor claimed that the income tax overhaul would boost state revenues. This was false. So he needed to renew the sales tax increase that was promised to be temporary during the recession. Some lawmakers refused to vote to reinstate the sales tax citing integrity, public trust and honoring a promise. But these issues were no stumbling block for the governor. Sales taxes also shift the tax burden from high income individuals to low income individuals.
When Gov. Brownback took office he declared the financial management of Gov. Sebelius and Gov. Parkinson as failed because the state reserve fund was essentially zero at the end of their terms. According to the Kansas Legislative Research Department the state reserve fund at the end of Gov. Brownbacks final 2014-15 fiscal year will be, ironically enough, essentially zero.
The governor built a reserve with spending cuts and the boost of the national recovery from the recession. He then plotted deficit spending of $329 million last year and for this, an election year, deficit spending projected at $351 million. Next year, after the election, with the reserve fund gone, his deficit spending is projected at $238 million. This is why two national agencies have downgraded the states credit rating. The governor describes this financial situation as being no problem whatsoever.
As opposed to Gov. Brownbacks spin and sell, Rep. Paul Davis has stated he would end Gov. Brownbacks plans for further tax cuts and freeze tax rates. Our state has been served by Democratic governors for 28 of the last 48 years. Our heritage of Kansas conservatism can be found Nov. 4 in the Davis-Docking ticket.