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The decline In Kansas continues

The Decline In Kansas Continues
By Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network
January 17, 2006

The relative decline of Kansas continues. This decline is vividly demonstrated when state and federal revenue growth is examined.

Total federal revenues grew 13.9 percent last year to total $2.142 trillion dollars. This was an increase in federal revenues of $262 billion. This increase was almost twice the percentage rate of growth of Kansas state revenues that grew only 7.1 percent or $322 million in fiscal year 2005 that ended June 30, 2005. The federal revenue figures are for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2005.

The variance in this growth between Kansas and the other 49 states is important. This data is another confirmation of two recent reports that compared Kansas economic trends and reported distressing results. K.U. economics professor Art Hall and Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research’s (CEDBR) Janet Harrah have issued separate reports indicating that Kansas is lagging in a number of key economic indicators.

Harrah’s 2005 report showed that income, population, and job growth were lagging in Kansas. This CEDBR study looked at all 50 states using six measurements for population growth, income, and jobs (see: www.wichita.edu/cedbr/). Kansas lags nationally and, even more distressing, was at or near the bottom in almost every category used in this 10 year survey from 1994-2003. Harrah’s study used the most recent 10 year period of federal data that was available.

Professor Hall’s “Local Government and the Kansas Productivity Puzzle,” focused upon weak productivity in Kansas as well as the sizable growth in government that appears to be a factor in the poor level of productivity growth. Hall’s work was particularly distressing due to the fact that Kansas scored poorly among all plains regional states in most of the measurements he examined. So not only was Kansas lagging nationally, it was also lagging regionally (see: www.cae.business.ku.edu).

Kansas is a laggard being pulled by the faster growing parts of the United States. This state has an economic growth problem that must be addressed due to the high taxes and resulting high level of government spending in this state. This is a reality that can certainly be ignored by state policy makers in Topeka. However, this is a reality that cannot be denied. Kansas is in economic trouble.

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