2019 Green Book shows Kansas with relatively large government

The 2019 Kansas Green Book is a publication from the Kansas Policy Institute that explores the relationship between the size of government and economic growth.

“If having the highest rural property tax was a competition, Iola, Kansas would be the clear winner,” said economist Michael Austin. “Whether it comes to jobs, wages, migration or just overall economic performance, Kansas sits at the bottom half to the bottom third of growth in all 50 states.”

Each of the eleven states that enacted an income tax since 1960 now has a smaller share of state GDP relative to the other 39 states and each one also has a smaller share of state and local tax revenue.

“States that take fewer resources from families and businesses, that’s taxes, they tend to see stronger private growth than Kansas,” said Austin. “Those same low burden tax states also perform markedly better than states with the highest tax burden.”

Many employees in Kansas work for government.

“Kansas has the third-highest state and local government workers for every one Kansas resident,” said Austin. “Why is this a problem? Let’s think about it this way: We’re seeing really low unemployment. Employers would naturally have to bid high wages in order to bring in job applicants. If government is so large, it can create an unfair advantage.”

Between 1997 and 2018, 68 of Kansas’ 105 counties saw county property tax collections more than double despite a decline in population.