Revenues continue to slide for Brownback
Since the implementation of Governor Brownback's tax experiment passed in the 2012 legislative session (against my strong protests), we have continued to see a dramatic decline in state revenues. Month-after-month, revenues have have come in under estimates despite multiple reductions in the estimates.
To help slow the bleeding of state revenues, the Governor Brownback and the Republican-controlled legislature increased sales taxes on the working class and the poor to continue tax cuts for the wealthy and slashed sales tax exemptions for certain non-profit organizations, like the Girl Scouts. House Democrats, including myself, opposed the Republican sale tax hikes, because it represents a dramatic shift of tax burden from those individuals, families and businesses most able to pay to those individuals and families least able to pay.
For the second time since last fall, the state's revenue forecasting group (the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group) has lowered the state's estimated revenue for the fiscal year. This time, the revenue expectations were lowered by more than $228 million, which created a hole of $140 million for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30 as well as a $150 million hole in next fiscal year's budget.
In the past two years, the Brownback administration has consistently failed to meet revenue expectations, even those after those expectations were revised downward. This trend cannot continue. Governor Brownback and his Republican allies in the Legislature have created a budgetary & fiscal crisis in Kansas, and we need to address it by restructuring our tax policy and budget priorities.
I am hopeful that when the Legislature returns next winter, we will have more legislators who recognize and understand the crisis we face and will work in a bi-partisan fashion to address it.
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