Commentary

The “Brownback effect” in North Carolina

A Politico story the day after Christmas discussed the “Brownback effect,” the change in some of the most radical tax-cutting rhetoric from Republicans across the country, thanks to the disaster that is the state budget in Kansas after Governor Sam Brownback’s massive tax reductions forced devastating cuts and a downgrading of the state’s credit rating, with more cuts on the way.

It’s a cautionary tale on a national scale … Many of us felt that [Kansas] had been too aggressive,” said Indiana Senate Majority Leader and tax committee chairman Brandt Hershman, who helped GOP Gov. Mike Pence cut corporate taxes last spring. “We all like low taxes … but we have to ensure the stability of a revenue stream to provide basic services that our citizens expect.”

The story doesn’t mention North Carolina but easily could have.  Governor Pat McCrory initially pledged that the tax changes passed in 2013 had to be revenue neutral but never lived up to that commitment.

The tax cuts that went primarily to corporations and the wealthy were initially forecast to cost the state $513 million this year but economists at the General Assembly now say it the tab will be more than $700 million and some analysts believe the cost could wind up being more than a billion dollars a year.

And folks wonder why there’s not enough money for textbooks and toilet paper in the schools.

And it may not stop there. Prominent Republican leaders like Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and Senator Bob Rucho are still pushing to abolish the state income tax entirely, which brings in more than half of the state’s revenue.

If this keeps up, before long folks across the country may be talking about the McCrory/Forest/Rucho effect.

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