Kansas economy lagging in several areas of growth
Topeka A report by Gov. Sam Brownback’s Council of Economic Advisors shows that Kansas is lagging the region and nation in numerous economic categories.
Over the past year, Kansas trails the region in categories that cover growth in population, gross domestic product, personal income, private-industry wage level and private business establishment, the report says.
Kansas does have a lower unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, than the region’s 5.3 percent, and it does lead the region in the growth of building permits, the report shows.
In addition to Kansas, the region includes Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The March report is available at http://www.kansascommerce.com/DocumentCenter/View/4770.
The Council of Economic Advisors was established by Brownback two years ago. Brownback serves as chairman and appointed its members.
The group and Brownback chose the categories to measure. At that time, Brownback said, “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.”
Another group, called the Kansas Economic Progress Council, which has opposed Brownback’s cuts in state income tax rates, says the report proves those cuts aren’t growing the economy.
Brownback pushed through cuts in the state income tax rates, while eliminating incomes taxes on nonwage income for thousands of businesses. Brownback’s tax changes also eliminated numerous deductions and he successfully fought against allowing the state sales tax to fall to 5.7 percent. It is now 6.15 percent.
In response to the report by Brownback’s economic council, Sara Belfry, a spokeswoman for Brownback, said, “This report looks at some data reflecting the tax cut that took effect in 2013 and shows that Kansas is closing the gap with states in our surrounding region. Kansas continues building momentum in 2014 as income taxes again decreased.”