KEPC SPECIAL REPORT: Kansas own economic benchmarks are not being met

Supporters of the 2012 and 2013 Kansas income tax cuts are saying that the cuts are working to grow the Kansas economy.

However, the Brownback Administration’s own benchmarks are indicating just the opposite in an obscure and little-noticed March 2014 report from the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

The March 2014 report, “Indicators of the Kansas Economy, A Review of Economic Trends and the Kansas Economy,” shows Kansas lagging behind other states in the region in growth of:

  • Employment
  • Population
  • Gross domestic product
  • Personal income
  • Private industry wage level
  • Private establishment (business)

The only category where Kansas does not trail the region and the country in the past year is in the growth of building permits.

Ironically, the report was released at about the same time the Administration was criticizing a new study by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that derides the tax cuts.  That report said, “…promises of immediate economic improvement have utterly failed to materialize.”

Responding to a Washington Post story on the report, a spokesperson for Governor Sam Brownback told the Post in an e-mail: “The Brownback administration has created a competitive advantage for Kansas.  We have grown jobs, reduced unemployment and invested in education.”

However, the report from the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors (housed in the Department of Commerce) paints a different picture.

The report is the result of a system of measurements put together over two years ago to monitor key economic indicators in the state.  At the time, the Governor was quoted as saying, “These economic metrics will allow us to determine the state’s relative economic position as it relates to the six-state region and the nation, and to monitor in a timely manner if our policies and initiatives are having the desired economic effect.”

The six other states included in the analysis are Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.  The report looks at growth over the past year, the past five years, and the past ten years.

Below are the one-year and five year growth percentages.  The report looks at Kansas growth compared to the 6-State Region and the U.S.

You can read the entire report on the Department of Commerce web site.