Gov. Sam Brownback tried to make the case last week that the state can afford his tax cuts without cutting core services such as education, Medicaid, social services and public safety. Few are buying it. His ideological colleagues at the Kansas Policy Institute determined that even using “dynamic scoring” to calculate greater than projected economic growth, the state would need to cut spending by about 8.5 percent in fiscal year 2014, or about $550 million. Given that Medicaid costs will continue to increase (even under the new KanCare program), that would be a traumatic cut to state programs that already have been through several rounds of deep budget cuts. And there is no way to cut that much spending without cutting education, which accounts for about two-thirds of the state budget. Local officials also aren’t expecting a rush of economic growth and are bracing for more funding cuts. During a recent meeting with The Eagle editorial board, Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan spoke of when, not if, the bottom falls out of the state budget and when, not if, the tax cuts fail to produce enough jobs to replace the lost revenue.
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