BIRDS OF A MIRACULOUS FEATHER?: Jindal, Walker, Brownback, Hutchinson — Republican governors all with similar ideas about tax cutting and economic development. Arkansas best hope Asa's results don't compare.
The miraculous performance of leading Republican governors continues to make headlines.
There's the Sam Brownback
miracle in Kansas,
where schools are reeling from budget cuts and he's been forced to propose new forms of taxes
to replace money lost in income taxes he cut. There's Scott Walker's Wisconsin
miracle. It's produced a faltering economy.
And now, more from Bobby Jindal's
miraculously stunning mismanagement of Louisiana.
once a top-rank university, is preparing to file for, essentially, bankruptcy
. Oh, not to worry. It's "academic bankruptcy." Whatever else happens, football will be played in Tiger Stadium. This is on top of health care, secondary education and other disasters on the Jindal watch.
If you catch Gov. Asa Hutchinson
speaking warmly about Brownback, Walker or Jindal, ask him if maybe he's softened his past opposition to marijuana.
Kansas is particularly relevant on taxes. From The Atlantic:
The yawning deficit is widely blamed on the deep income tax cuts that Brownback, along with a Republican legislature, enacted during his first two years in office. They not only slashed rates, but more importantly, they created a huge exemption for business owners who file their taxes as individuals. By Brownback's own description, the tax plan was a "real live experiment" in supply-side economics, with the idea being that lower taxes would spur investment, create jobs, and refill Kansas's coffers through faster growth. Yet even under the most charitable analysis, revenue has plummeted much faster than the economy has expanded.
Then there's Wisconsin, where Walker rolled out a vaunted public-private economic development partnership
plan much like that being pushed by Asa Hutchinson. (You know the drill: Taxpayers give private companies money. Prosperity roars down like a mighty stream on the fortunate, with perhaps a trickle for the working poor — you know, the ones who alone were left out of Hutchinson's income tax cut.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private body set up by Walker shortly after he took office in January 2011, was supposed to help the state climb out of recession by shedding bureaucratic rules and drawing on private-sector expertise.
But the WEDC has fallen short of its own goals by tens of thousands of jobs and failed to keep track of millions of dollars it has handed out. One reason for the agency's disappointing performance: Walker's overhaul of the state bureaucracy drove away seasoned development workers, economic development experts who work closely with the agency told Reuters.
Our hope has to be that Hutchinson is far too smart to repeat the mistakes of his colleagues. Too bad he didn't emulate another Republican colleague, in Indiana, who reacted to an uproar about overtly biased legislation to restrict legal rights of gay people. Unlike the Indiana governor, Hutchinson pushed a compromise that did NOTHING to provide even a scrap of non-discrimination encouragement in Arkansas law. Tech companies have said repeatedly that they are unimpressed by states that allow legal discrimination, as Arkansas does.