Things are so bad now with the Great Brownbackian Austerity Experiment in Kansas that the state's Republican lawmakers are no longer willing to sacrifice their careers on the Laffer curve hill along with the Governor.
Brownback took office on a pledge to make Kansas friendlier to business and successfully sought to cut the top personal income tax rate by 29 percent and exempt more than 330,000 farmers and business owners from income taxes. The moves were popular in a Legislature where the GOP holds three-quarters of the seats.
The governor argued that Kansas had to attract more businesses after a "lost decade" in the early 2000s, when private sector employment declined more than 4 percent.
The predicted job growth from business expansions hasn't happened, leaving the state persistently short of money. Since November, tax collections have fallen about $81 million, or 1.9 percent below the current forecast's predictions.
"We're growing weary," said Senate President Susan Wagle, a conservative Republican from Wichita. While GOP legislators still support low income taxes, "we'd prefer to see some real solutions coming from the governor's office," she said.
Last month, Brownback ordered $17 million in immediate reductions to universities and earlier this month delayed $93 million in contributions to pensions for school teachers and community college employees. The state has also siphoned off more than $750 million from highway projects to other parts of the budget over the past two years.
Lawmakers are worried about approving any further reductions in an election year. All 40 Senate seats and 125 House seats are on the ballot in November.
Brownback isn't on the ballot. All state legislators are. They're the ones who are going to take the fall for the austerity choking Kansas's economy and they know it. The plan is to leave Brownback holding the bag.
Democrats have long described Brownback's tax cuts as reckless. Republican critics want to repeal the personal income tax break for farmers and business owners to raise an additional $200 million to $250 million a year.
Debate over the next budget will intensify after lawmakers return from a recess later this month. They could follow through on their threat by adjourning without making specific reductions and leaving the governor with the authority to do so. He faces fewer repercussions because he will not appear on the ballot again before leaving office in January 2019.
But with so many Republicans in office in Kansas, Democrats can afford to say "I told you so."
Meanwhile, Kansas reported gaining only 800 private-sector jobs between March 2015 and March 2016, a mere 0.1 percent increase.
800 jobs for the entire state in a year, because tax cuts going to "the job creators" don't create jobs when people can't afford to buy goods and services in order to create the demand for growth. That's basic macroeconomics folks, and Kansas and Sam Brownback have utterly failed.
You elected Republicans, Kansas. Time to vote them out.