There are a variety of ways we can explain how detrimental Republican policies can be to a state’s economy. Members of the GOP have been making it even easier to point out the awful impact conservative legislators often have when their pro-corporate, anti-worker agenda is pushed to the forefront of politics.
Today, let’s talk about Kansas.
Case in point: all four of the Republicans competing to unseat Governor Mark Dayton have said that they will run our state similarly to how Wisconsin and Kansas are currently being run.
I’ve already exhausted why Minnesota does not want to look like Wisconsin.
But Kansas? It’s easy to compare Minnesota and Kansas to understand how Republican policies can run a state into the ground.
First things first: the governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, is a Republican. He recently won his party’s primary in Kansas, but more than 100 members of his own party endorsed his opponent, a Democratic candidate.
Things have gotten so bad in Kansas that Republicans in the state had to release the following statement in order to justify endorsing the opposing party:
We are all Republicans but we will always be Kansans first. We stand today united in the belief that under the current Republican governor Kansas is going in the wrong direction.
It’s clear that even Republicans in Kansas see that the “Red vs Blue” experiment Gov. Brownback began when he became governor is not working.
Not working is putting it kindly.
Bluntly: Republican policy-favorites such as tax cuts, fewer business regulations, limited union power and resistance to nationalized health care have been implemented in Kansas, and now Kansas is experimenting an economic meltdown.
Minnesotans take home more money than Kansans.
We get to take home about 106 percent of the national average income after taxes, while Kansas remained stagnant with the national average, at about 99 percent.
We create more jobs than Kansas.
Minnesota leads the Midwest in job creation. Our rate of job growth since 2010 (the year Gov. Dayton took office) is 8.8 percent. Kansas’s is 6.6 percent.
This “underemployment” the GOP candidates keep babbling on about? Kansas’s is worse than ours.
In an attempt to paint our state’s job growth as something other than growth, the Republicans running for governor like to say that “yeah, Minnesota has a low unemployment rate…but have you heard about underemployment?” Underemployment refers to not being given the option of working full time when you wish to. But newsflash to members of the GOP: the policies you’re promoting to reduce underemployment have been implemented in Kansas. And they still have higher rates of underemployment than we do. Our long-term rates of unemployment are smaller than Kansas’s, too.
The mythical and sacred Republican theory that calls for tax decreases (also known as supply-side economics)? That went into law in Kansas. The results nearly cut their predicted revenues in half.
Gov. Brownback exempted corporations from having to pay any income taxes at all, and the result is an incentive for corporations to game the tax system without doing anything productive for the economy. If you make wages as an individual in Kansas, your wages are taxed. If you make wages as a business, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc. in Kansas, you’re not taxed at all. Following these severe tax cuts, the state’s projected revenue of $651 million fell short $282 million, leaving the state to scramble to fill those millions of dollars in funding gaps.
Who cares about declining revenues, anyway?
Kids. It’s Kansas’s schools that have felt the financial pinch. The public school system has seen a 17 percent decrease in per-pupil funding since the 2008 recession, and under Gov. Brownback’s administration, it’s continuing to decline. That means less time for students to work individually with teachers, fewer resources for teachers and ultimately slowing academic growth over the years.
As MinnPost pointed out, members of the GOP keep grasping at straws in an attempt to paint Minnesota as an economically stagnant state. However, they’re not even reaching at straws anymore. They can’t even grab those:
The Republican gubernatorial candidates portray the Minnesota economy as being shackled by regulations, burdened by high taxes, and strangled by unions. Yet the data indicate otherwise — that Minnesota is doing well on each of the five goals candidate [Scott] Honour proposes as measures of progress. This isn’t a short-term phenomenon. High rates of labor force participation (especially by women), investments in human capital (such as education and health care), and investments in physical capital (both by private funders and public agencies) have all contributed to Minnesota’s strong economic performance over the past 60 years.
There are mountains of evidence explaining why Minnesotans do not want our state economy to look anything like Kansas’s.
All four of the GOP governor candidates support plans that include tax cuts, reduced business regulation, laws to limit union power and resistance to the Affordable Care Act.
Those were the same plans Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Kansas’s Sam Brownback wanted to implement, and now both of those states are being massively outperformed by Minnesota.
It’s not just political ideology that Republicans are getting wrong. Now it’s the numbers, too.
What else do these Republican gubernatorial candidates refuse to realistically assess?
If one of the GOP candidates becomes governor of Minnesota in November, it’ll only be a matter of time before we find out.