By all accounts, Sam Brownback had offered Kansans a Republican Utopia: a free hand to govern in a Republican way to grow the state. Praised by his peers and out of staters - including presidential candidates like Chris Christie who stopped in Kansas during the 2014 campaign - Brownback offered a fully conservative laboratory.
The Sun is Shining in Kansas - And Don't Let Anyone Tell you Different! was Sam Brownback's campaign slogan.
The Kansas Department of Labor Report for August tells us that too many Kansans don't need to be told any different; far too many of them received pink slips that leave them wondering first hand where the booming Kansas economy went.
Since last month, Kansas declined by 2,000 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, or 0.2 percent. The state lost 3,000 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs, or 0.2 percent since July 2015.This comes on top of roughly 5,100 in job losses in the July cycle. But what happened? Why has Utopia not materialized in Kansas? During the 2014 election cycle, Rex Sinquefield, prominent Republican donor, praised Sam Brownback's efforts:
“Kansas has three great things going for it,” he said. “First of all, it has a great governor. Secondly, it has a great tax policy. Thirdly, and most important, Missouri has an idiot for a governor.”
The GOP megadonor, who rarely grants interviews or speaks publicly, vowed to continue his battle to slash taxes in the Show-Me State.
“We’re going to try in Missouri” to eliminate the income tax, Sinquefield said. But “we have to get a new governor.”Rex Sinquefield's belief that Kansas is far better positioned than Missouri is currently not backed up by the numbers; as Missouri has gained 30,800 jobs according to the Missouri Department of Labor in comparison to Kansas year over year result of roughly 1,000 new jobs.
But is Kansas the kind of hot investment for business leaders that Sinquefield, Kochs, and others have contended it would be? Have Kansas tax rates generated new jobs?
Koch Industries, a significant benefactor of the new tax strategy in Kansas, currently direct employs 3,558 Kansans according to their report. Despite significant tax benefits to their Kansas-based corporation designed to make Kansas more attractive as a employer, the multi-billion dollar company hasn't found it incentive enough to help Sam Brownback's tax plan look effective. In short: the expected jobs that would "trickle down" are failing to materialize, adding only 332 jobs in the last two years.
Kansans who were busy waiting on the sunshine now find themselves hoping that the trickle down turns into a downpour and that the promised boom of jobs comes to fruition.
For the moment, though, many Kansans would just appreciate a firm forecast for the future, as the continued loss of an economically viable future in Kansas is leaving many residents wondering if the sun is shining somewhere else.