Today our elected officials in Washington did what we Kansans knew they should not do: they passed reconciled tax reform bills that primarily benefit the wealthiest and most connected -- the donors that bankroll right-wing campaigns. Worse? The bill will end up raising taxes on the working and middle class.
We in Kansas know how this echoes Gov. Brownback’s disastrous “tax experiment.”
Gov. Brownback’s 2012 “real-life experiment” of tax cuts for the rich promised us thousands of new jobs, and that it would create a “shot of adrenaline” to the heart of the Kansas economy.
Instead, our tax revenue went on to fail to meet even the most modest of projections. Our budget deficits ballooned. Unemployment rates grew. And the state’s bond ratings fell dramatically.
The situation failed to improve four years later when a lack of funding forced our schools to make hard decisions about closing their doors early, and in some cases permanently. Further, a lack of revenue forced our state to rob the infrastructure fund to balance our books. All of this slowed our economy to a crawl.
And now President Trump and his right-wing cohorts will inflict on the nation the same damage Gov. Brownback inflicted on Kansas, all with the same purpose: to appease their wealthy donors. What’s more, even the right-leaning Tax Foundation acknowledges the bill would add roughly $450 billion to the deficit, with other groups saying that number is at the very low end.
I strongly believe we need tax reform, but it needs to be tax reform that really grows the economy: tax cuts directed at middle and working-class Americans. We need tax cuts directed at American job creators who want to create jobs, not just pad the wallets of corporate shareholders. If we want to grow jobs and build real economic prosperity, it needs to be from the bottom up and middle out. As we all know, trickle down has never worked, and no amount of magical thinking will make it start working.
It is a challenging day for the working and middle-class people of this country, but 2018 is just around the corner. Let’s stand up, united, against this tax scam and pledge, here and now, to vote out those ignorant enough to forget lessons we Kansans already learned the hard way.
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