People in Kansas are struggling to recover from the state's experiment with deep tax cuts. What happened in Kansas is similar in many ways to what Congress is attempting to do on a national level.
... Ask Kansans what's the best thing about their state and many will say the people and it has really good roads. But the thing they're most proud of - Kansas's long history of quality public education.
Martin Stessman is the superintendent for Shawnee Heights United School District in Tecumseh, Kan., for elementary, a middle and a high school...
... Stessman says the first deep budget cuts to schools came during the Great Recession. Between 2009 and 2012, there were round after round of layoffs and cutbacks.
And when it seemed like the district was finally beginning to climb out, Governor Sam Brownback's tax cuts were put into place.
STESSMAN: So we'd seen drastic cuts and then this came. Literally over a one-year period, income tax collections dropped by a quarter - 25 percent. It just pretty much destroyed any possibility of replacing the cuts that we made.
... All across Kansas, school programs were eliminated. Maintenance took a hit. Teaching positions were phased out, and the school year was shortened.
In Shawnee Heights, finally, there was no choice but to begin cutting the high school's beloved football program...
... When we cut half-a-dozen coaching positions, all of the booster clubs came to us and said, we'll raise the money to fund that position and they did.
But nobody lines up when you reduce three custodial positions, cut a couple of parent positions and reduce teaching positions. I'm not being critical, that's just what happened here...
... Brownback had promised the tax cuts could spur up to 25,000 new jobs a year but that proved wildly optimistic. Kansas actually lost jobs the first year.
Roads went from a 10 to a 50-year maintenance schedule.
Nevertheless, the legislature was still forced to raid the State Employees' Retirement Fund, then it raised the sales tax twice.
With the state lagging behind its neighbors economically, public school financing a mess and budget chaos in the Capitol, Governor Brownback's popularity fell off a cliff.
Last year, a wave of moderate Republicans swept into office at the right wing's expense. They partnered with Democrats, rescinded Brownback's tax cuts and overrode his veto. After four years, the great Kansas tax experiment was over...
... The lesson learned here seems to be that tax cuts did not supercharge the state's economy.
For Governor Brownback, the end result was a humiliating political backlash, with members of his own party rescinding his tax cut pride and joy...
Kansas' 2 12 Tax Cut Experiment Could Serve As A Cautionary Tale : NPR