Topeka Kansas Democrats on Friday accused Gov. Sam Brownback of misleading the public about what impact his tax cuts will have on public schools, social services and public safety.
"Sam Brownback's income tax cut plan will bankrupt the state while the tax burden will shift to property and sales taxes, hitting hardest those Kansans who can least afford it," said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.
Hensley was joined at a news conference by House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, and state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate tax committee.
Brownback, a Republican, signed into law legislation approved by Republicans that will reduce income tax rates for individuals and eliminate income taxes for the owners of 191,000 businesses.
Brownback says the plan will work "like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy," producing tens of thousands of jobs and luring tens of thousands of people to Kansas.
Earlier this week, Brownback held a news conference, saying that the state's finances were solid enough to handle the massive tax cuts. And he promised to protect funding for schools, social services and public safety.
But Democrats said Brownback was intentionally misleading the public and trying to calm fears about the tax cuts in the run up to the Aug. 7 Republican Party primary. Brownback is backing a number of conservative Republicans, who support his agenda, against moderate Republican incumbents who have wanted to take a more cautious approach on tax cuts.
The non-partisan Kansas Legislative Research Department, which works for the Legislature, has projected that the tax cuts will cut revenues by more than $4.5 billion over the next five years, producing a budget shortfall of $2.5 billion.
"His income tax cut will force another budget crisis and send the state back into the red for years to come," said Holland.
Davis said the tax cuts will start affecting the budget soon. "I can understand why the governor is engaged in an act of deception regarding his tax plan. It simply doesn't add up. You can never make the math work," he said. "The governor is not telling the truth to the people of Kansas," he said.
Sherriene Jones-Sontag, a spokeswoman for Brownback, said, "The KLRD (Kansas Legislative Research Department) outlook cited by those who support the status quo is simply wrong and they know it."
She added, "This election is about the choice Kansans have regarding the future of our state. Do they want Kansas to continue on a path of higher taxes, increased government spending and more regulations? Or do they want to make our state the place where our children and grandchildren can stay to find a job and raise a family?”
Democrats also bristled over Brownback taking credit for the state budget's $466 million cash reserve. The Democrats said the rebound in the ending balance was produced by Democrats and moderate Republicans who made difficult budget cuts and approved the one-cent increase in the state sales tax, which was done before Brownback took office in 2011.