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The Kansas tax cut experiment

William G. Gale

THE ISSUE: As President Trump and the House GOP propose tax and spending plans that include sharp cuts to income taxes, it’s important to explore what happened when Kansas Governor Sam Brownback implemented similar cuts in 2012. The Brownback plan aimed to boost the Kansas economy, but instead led to sluggish growth, lower than expected revenues, and brutal cuts to government programs. The Brownback tax cuts, one of the cleanest experiments for measuring the effects of tax cuts on economic growth in the U.S., were eventually reversed by a Republican-controlled legislature as a failure.

The experiment in Kansas has important implications for federal tax reform, the first being not to expect tax cuts to boost the economy much, if at all.

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