Jared Bernstein is trying to sell snake oil ("National View: Kansas legislature pulls the plug on Gov. Brownback’s failed trickle-down experiment," June 9). He asserts that Kansas Gov. Brownback’s 2012 state tax cuts have resulted in state budget shortfalls that have crippled the state’s ability to function properly, and he praises the Republican legislature for recognizing the problem and re-raising taxes so that the budget shortfalls can be eliminated.

The basic claim is untrue. In 2011, the year before the much ballyhooed Brownback tax cuts, Kansas’ total state and local tax revenue was $23.4 billion and this year, total state and local tax revenues are projected to be $26.6 billion — a 13.7 percent increase in the tax burden in six years. In comparison, Taxachusetts total state and local tax revenues increased by 7.5 percent in the same time frame. 

Brownback did cut personal income taxes and eliminated the ruinous double-taxation on small business owners who had been paying both corporate and personal income taxes on all their profits, but other taxes increased and the overall tax burden on Kansans increased significantly. Under rising tax burdens, of course there was no uptick in prosperity for Kansans. Some of us would actually argue that Kansas' poor economic performance over the last decade is due to the soaring tax burden that squeezed money out of taxpayers to fund bloated state and local bureaucracies. 

In order to achieve prosperity, taxes actually need to be cut. Cosmetic sleights of hand with cuts offset by increases will never work. Kansas’ plight is not a failure of “supply-side economics” since traditional supply-side economic policies were never enacted. Kansas Republicans, like all politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, love to spend other people’s money on their pet projects and that is at the heart of Kansas’ problem. 

Kansas does not have a tax revenue problem — it has a government spending problem. 

Lee Nason

New Bedford