GOP Tax Plans Would Emulate Failed Kansas Experiment
Massive tax cuts Kansas enacted in 2012 were among the largest ever adopted by a state, and delivered lopsided benefits to the wealthy. Key architects of Kansas’ tax cuts, including Governor Sam Brownback and long-time tax cut advocates Stephen Moore and Art Laffer, are urging federal lawmakers to mimic Kansas’ plan.
But the Kansas tax cuts are a cautionary tale, not a model: promises of immediate economic improvement failed to materialize; revenues plummeted, causing cuts to services, delays to road projects, and underfunded schools; and proponents used inaccurate and misleading economic data to defend poor outcomes. Recognizing that the tax cuts had led to financial crisis and budget shortfalls, lawmakers on a bipartisan basis reversed them in 2017.
President Trump’s campaign tax plan (which Moore and Laffer helped design) and the House GOP “Better Way” tax plan adopt key elements of the Kansas plan: large income tax rate cuts, and a special, even lower tax rate for “pass-through” business income.2 Art Laffer says Trump’s plan will generate economic “nirvana,” with economic benefits that will “trickle down” to ordinary workers. The results of the Kansas tax-cut experiment show that these claims are highly dubious.