Opinion Columns & Blogs

State economy better but still lags

Recent state economic news is encouraging but also needs some context. The state’s tax collections for November were $3.1 million higher than estimates, which is hopeful. However, revenue forecasts were dramatically reduced earlier in November. Also, it’s good news that the state has now regained the private-sector jobs it lost during the recession. However, real wages remain below prerecession levels, and Kansas is still trailing the nation and most surrounding states in job growth. Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma regained their lost private-sector jobs more than a year ago. Also of note, there doesn’t appear to be any national correlation between state tax policies and job recovery. States that had higher income taxes, such as California and New York, and states with no income taxes, such as Texas and South Dakota, both had faster private-sector job-creation numbers than Kansas, the Kansas City Star reported. – Phillip Brownlee