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Kansas Takes Red Model for a Test Drive

Republicans in Kansas are set to have total control of state politics in 2013 and are already planning an ambitious agenda for the next legislative session. The most important change concerns management of the state’s budget following an aggressive tax cut earlier this year. To offset the loss in revenue, major spending cuts may be in the offing. Political Fiber reports:

Earlier this month, Brownback said he originally proposed paying for the tax cuts by eliminating several credits and deductions, including deductions for interest on home mortgages and charitable contributions. It also appears that he will propose keeping the state sales tax at 6.3 percent instead of allowing it to drop to 5.7 percent in July as it is scheduled to do. However, the legislature did not take action on those proposals from the governor last session.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said he expects an extensive debate about whether to keep the 6.3 percent sales tax rate. The tax, which is more regressive, would likely have a bigger effect on young adults and students who spend a larger percentage of their income on things that fall under a sales tax.

To offset the loss in revenue, Bruce also said he expects a push by some legislators to consolidate different offices in state government in an effort to cut costs.

If California is now the laboratory for blue politics, Kansas has become the nation’s laboratory for red. If this agenda is enacted, we will have a test case for nearly all of the policy ideas that have captured the minds of conservatives but haven’t yet seen the light of day. We’ll learn a lot in 2013 and 2014 about which GOP policies have promise and which ones don’t.

For now, we’ll wait and see. California looks too blue for us, and Kansas might be too red, but its a good thing that American voters who want to take a political philosophy for a test drive at the state level can do so. The rest of us can watch and learn.

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