In 2010 Republican Sam Brownback rode a Tea Party wave into the Kansas governor’s mansion, announcing, “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.’”
With Republicans dominating the legislature, Brownback passed massive tax breaks for the wealthy, eliminated all income taxes on more than 100,000 businesses, privatized Medicaid delivery, slashed the education budget to the bone and abolished four state agencies. He promised that all of this would create jobs and actually raise state revenues. Just the opposite has happened: The state budget is drowning in red ink, while job growth has lagged behind all neighboring states and the national average. In 2015 six school districts were actually forced to close early for lack of funds. Healthcare and human services have been decimated.