Legislative Update – June 7, 2017

A day after the important vote to successfully override the Governor’s 2012 tax policy, I want to offer some reflections. First and foremost, my House and Senate  colleagues, who supported the override of SB 30, are not celebrating. Anytime a governing body has to enact an increase in taxes on citizens, while necessary in my opinion, can cause more hardship economically. I respect Governor Brownback and his efforts to make Kansas grow and prosper but it is time for a course correction.

After weeks of debate and the revising of countless versions of a tax bill, the June
6th version of SB 30 provided the first step in curing the fiscal ills of our state. There are challenges ahead including adequate highway funding and bringing KPERS current. Medicaid expansion and covering several thousand Kansans with health insurance is another task unresolved.

For now, with the new revenue, the state’s obligations may be met without additional debt. This condition could change as we go forward. Being fiscally responsible will require a continuation of seeking out efficiencies in all that state government represents in serving Kansans. SB 30 is projected to provide new revenue of $591 million in FY ’18 and $633 million in FY’ 19. Among the benefactors will be public education which will receive $187.6 million in additional funding for school year ’17-’18 and $283.8 million for school year ’18-’19. The Supreme Court will be deciding if this funding injection is sufficient before month-end.

It is important to mention that without a veto override of SB 30, the projected ending balances for the State General Fund would have been a deficit of ($436 million) in FY ’18 and ($564.5 million) in FY ’19. Instead, cash reserves can begin to be replenished with an estimated ending balance of $155 million in FY’ 18 and $223.5 million in FY’ 19. By state statute, a 7.5% ending balance is required so there is a long way to go in building sufficient cash reserves.

I promised during my campaign that I would support legislation to repeal the Brownback tax plan, specifically the LLC tax exemptions. Also, I vowed to support a school finance plan which provides sufficient funding for Kansas K-12 students. Both of these issues will remain at the top of my list as it will take another 5-6 years to get Kansas off the the ground and soaring again.

As the session winds down with a budget yet to pass for FY ’18, I have enjoyed the opportunity to represent House District 87. I have been humbled by the magnitude of this job and have a lot to learn for next session. During the off session time, I will be traveling some but will also be available to host small groups and continue to listen to your concerns as I have during the past few months. Enjoy your summer with family and friends.

Regards,

Roger

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