Posted on November 16, 2016
Brownback’s chickens come home to roost on Kansas highways (or: building roads that chickens can’t cross):
Kansas just “postponed” 24 significant road projects. All of them are maintenance and repair projects rather than new additions to the highway stock. So guess what: six years of stealing from the highway fund to finance tax cuts for rich people does have consequences–our roads are deteriorating.
In the past, one of Kansas’s economic development advantanges has been its very good highway and road system. That is not easy to manage in a state that is very large in area but smallish in population. In particular, among all the states we have the sixth largest number of lane miles per capita to maintain, or nearly 4 times as large a burden as the US average. That means it’s very hard to catch up if we ever get behind on maintenance. In this and many other respects, Brownback’s negative effects on economic development will burden us for years after Brownback and his legislative cronies are long gone. Ironic of course, since Brownback claimed (contrary to all conventional economic advice) that his “Laffer curve” tax cuts were an economic development initiative.
More generally, his far right ideology seems almost ideally designed to make a mess of life for ordinary Kansans. Oddly enough, his biggest backers are the centibillionaire Koch brothers of Wichita, who love the tax cuts and don’t much travel by highway, or indeed, depend on state government for much of anything.