The National Economy is Strong. So Why Are Some States Languishing?

Mar 18, 2016

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner gives his State of the Budget address.
Credit The Atlantic

Our nation’s economy is strong. But states like Oklahoma and Kansas still find themselves struggling. Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas is slashing K-12 money, leaving schools underfunded. Oklahoma has declared a “revenue failure,” which means the state has been forced to cut spending across the board. Why are these states having so many problems when the country’s economy seems stable? According to The Atlantic, it’s because they’re using tax policy that doesn’t jive with 21st-century economics.

Carl Davis, the research director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, says these states are pushing Reagan-era supply-side economics. They slash taxes in hopes of spurring growth. Oklahoma, for example, has given up on $1 billion dollars from wealthy taxpayers.

But their theory has not played out, and although the recession is over, these states are in the red.