The results are in from Sam Brownback’s Kansas experiments, and other Republicans are taking note. A lengthy story in Politico details how in the wake of Kansas’ budget troubles, GOPers around the country are readjusting their expectations of what tax cuts can do—and how they can be best implemented:
Of course, Republicans aren’t ditching supply-side economic theory or tax cuts. But they’re considering ways to avoid Kansas’ troubles. Their takeaways include smaller cuts over extended periods of time, stopgaps to protect revenues — and avoiding overpromising.It’s making for an odd dynamic in which some Republicans now proudly say their tax plans will be “incremental” or “evolutionary” instead of “revolutionary.”…Republicans have learned a budget lesson from Brownback, too: Make sure you have the money.“What Republican generally learned about the Kansas experience was to make sure you have the budget handled before you embark upon the tax changes,” said Stephen Slivinski, a senior economist at the conservative Goldwater Institute, who added that “if tax cuts are ever going to be in the offing, you have to handle the budget and do so in an honest clear way to make sure there may not be traps that might have befallen the Kansas effort.”
As Walter Russell Mead wrote after the elections, Brownback’s victory aside, it has become clear that Republicans need more nuanced solutions than those he was offering. For those inclined to look upon GOP prospects as positive, the upside here is that the party itself seems to have realized this. The Republicans may be working toward a model for governance, as well as for electoral success.In which case, let the laboratory experiments continue.