Fiscal conservatives in Kansas have turned their state into a laboratory to test reforms similar to the "Ryan plan" for massive tax cuts at the national level -- and the result has been a Republican civil war.
Backers of recent state tax cuts argue they will create jobs and boost the economy to partially offset lost revenue, with budget cuts solving the remaining shortfall. The tax cuts go into effect in January, and the Kansas Legislative Research Department calculates the lost revenue will amount to the equivalent of 36 percent of the state budget within five years.
Republican Governor Sam Brownback has described the reforms as a "real live experiment" that proponents want to see implemented at the national level.
Critics say there are few specifics on spending cuts. The same criticism is leveled by opponents of U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity," which President Barack Obama has called "thinly veiled social Darwinism," arguing its spending cuts are vague and will hurt everything from education to low-income families and highways.
The "Ryan plan" maintains that cutting taxes and broadening the tax base is "pro-growth reform" that will "promote innovation and sustained job creation in the private sector."
Moderate Republicans, who control the Kansas state Senate with Democratic help, argue that a tax-cut-fueled boom is a pipe dream and lost tax revenue will devastate schools, roads and basic services for the poor, as well as lead to the release of convicted felons.