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Kansas' Red Dawn
A Republican Revolt Against Brownback

More than 100 hundred Kansas Republican leaders have endorsed Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s Democratic challenger Paul Davis. Brownback’s project has had bipartisan critics for a while now, but this is the biggest rebuke yet. The WSJ traces the developments that pushed many of the those 100 leaders away from him:

Mr. Brownback won the backing of lawmakers to cut the top income-tax rate by 25% as part of a plan to completely eliminate the tax, casting the policy as a model for Republican governors across the country. He also won the backing of the legislature to eliminate income taxes on non-wage income for many businesses.

But the experiment has caused a steep drop in state revenues, while not yet delivering outsize economic growth. Those endorsing Mr. Davis pointed to the cuts as a main reason why they are breaking from the party. The list put out by the Davis campaign was dominated by former officeholders and party officials, some of whom hadn’t been elected in decades. Also several of those endorsing the Democrat were vocal critics of Mr. Brownback well before Tuesday.

The fact that at least some of these Republicans already opposed Brownback means that people will dispute the significance of this new rash of endorsements, but his program seems to be eroding his political support. Under Brownback, Kansas has been serving as a “laboratory” of red policies. But if his own party disowns him, the chances of this red revolution going national are slim indeed.

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  • GodisanAmerican

    this what happens if you are obsessed with red model or blue model.
    Why what works is right rather than what’s Right works.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    It took a couple of years for Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts to have any effect on the moribund Carter economy. He after all lost the Senate in the midterms and then took 49 States in his re-election after the economy started rocketing up at 7%.

    • Bruno_Behrend

      Reagan cut taxes for an entire nation. The idea that a few percentage points of tax reduction on an already low tax ( relative to federal taxes), is going to spike economic activity is just plain silly.

      The best way to sell tax cuts at the state level is to point out the waste in state and local government, and then cut spending first.

      Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie lead with property tax cuts, not income tax cuts.

      The GOP needs to stop selling the ” income tax cuts will give us an economic boom” snake oil. They need to start creating a constituency for spending cuts by showing the utter and complete waste in every level of government.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Actually, when you consider overall marginal tax rates the drop in the state income tax only results in a tiny reduction overall. It will takes years, if ever, for such a small cut to show effects. See Scott Sumner for details:

  • DirtyDave

    So cut state spending to match revenues. What’s the big deal? Everybody wins.

  • Freedom ICT

    A sure sign of summer in Kansas is the emergence of “Republicans for (insert Democrat Candidate)” groups that grab a day or two of headlines. Kansas has long been a three party state: Democrats, ‘Moderate’ Republicans, and Conservative Republicans. To suggest that this list indicates anything more than inter-party backbiting is incorrect.

    The Moderate Republicans have been harsh critics of Brownback since he defeated Moderate Republican Sheila Frahm in the 1996 U.S Senate race. Two years ago, the Moderate Republicans lost their longtime hold of the Kansas Senate in favor of a wave of more conservative lawmakers. As one might expect, Davis’ list includes every single one of the Senators who lost in 2012.

    Whatever the policy views, and time will tell if Brownback’s policies are successful or not, the same names would be on Davis’ list regardless of policy considerations.

  • commenter1

    Rinos are whining? Stop the presses.

  • pabarge

    Walter Russell Mead voted for Barack Obama both times.

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