By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World
Gov. Sam Brownback's administration says recent state tax collection figures are positive, but his presumptive Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, has a different view.
Davis says the plummeting tax revenues and increasing unemployment rate are signs that Kansas is lagging because of Brownback's policies.
"Gov. Brownback's `real live experiment' is not working," said Davis, the House minority leader from Lawrence.
Earlier this week, the Kansas Department of Revenue said taxes collected during the first quarter of the fiscal year were slightly less than expected.
Of the $1.37 billion in taxes collected from July through September, the figure was $8.5 million, or 0.6 percent, below projections.
A dip in corporate tax revenue may have been caused by businesses investing more than expected in machinery, which receives tax breaks, the Brownback administration said.
"We believe that all of these numbers show that Kansas businesses are investing and citizens are spending more money," Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said.
The $1.37 billion collected during the first quarter was $135.8 million less than what was collected in the first quarter of the last fiscal year. That's a 9 percent decline.
Such a decrease would have set off alarm bells in previous years, but this was expected. That dip is the result of the income tax cuts signed into law by Brownback, which he has said will spur the economy, but which Democrats have said will underfund essential government functions and favor the wealthy.
As far as spurring the economy, Kansas' unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in August, which is lower than the national rate of 7.3 percent. But the national rate has been declining this year, from 7.9 percent in January, while the Kansas rate has increased from 5.5 percent over the same time period.