AIA Legislative Updates

727px-Kansas_Statehouse_2015

Topeka, Kansas Capitol Building

Legislative Update Week 18 - June 9, 2017

Today, Friday, June 9, is Day 112 of the session. What a week at the Statehouse! Late Monday into early Tuesday, lawmakers passed both a school finance bill and a tax bill. This followed a weekend (at the Statehouse) in which lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected combining the two issues into one bill.  

K-12 Funding. The school finance bill that passed (67-55 House, 23-17 Senate) includes a funding formula similar to the one that was replaced in 2015 and increases school funding by approximately $293 million over two years. It is now on its way to the Governor. Although the new formula appears sound, there remains some concern that the amount of funding allocated will not satisfy the Supreme Court. If that is the case, expect a special session in July.

Taxes. The tax bill sent to the Governor early Tuesday raises approximately $1.2 billion in revenue over two years. It includes three income tax brackets and eliminates the exemptions for LLCs and the “glidepath to zero” formula to end state income taxes initiated by Gov. Brownback. Less than 24 hours after the bill passed, Gov. Brownback vetoed it. The Legislature voted to override his veto 27-13 in the Senate and 88-31 in the House. It was the first veto override of the Governor’s tenure, and it made national headlines.

Moody’s upgrade. In the wake of the news, Moody’s Investors Services upgraded the state’s outlook from negative to stable. “The tax increase enacted this week was a major step forward in the state’s willingness to utilize its resources to balance its budget and service its long-term liabilities,” Moody’s said. However, Moody’s also noted that the state’s “pension funding challenges, pressure to spend more on schools, and stagnant revenue growth, the state is like to be a below-average performer for the next few years.”

Budget. Now that they know how much they have to spend, House and Senate negotiators are working to hammer out their differences on the state’s budget. On Thursday, the House passed its spending plan that includes $6.5 billion next year and $6.3 billion the following (FY 2019) year. The Senate passed its budget earlier in the week. Negotiators initiated the first round of talks last night (Thursday).  Among the issues still to be resolved are pay raises for state employees and KPERS payments.

Our condolences to family and friends of Rep. Patsy Terrell, of Hutchinson. Rep. Terrell died on Wednesday, June 7, in her hotel room in Topeka. She was a freshman lawmaker elected in the fall of 2016.

Kobach makes it official. Sec. of State Kris Kobach announced his candidacy for governor yesterday, June 8. Responding to the Legislature’s tax plan, Kobach tweeted “The legislators who voted for this obscene tax increase have failed their obligation to represent their constituents.”

Thank you for your continued support.

Past Updates:

June 2, 2017

May 31, 2017

May, 22, 2017

May 1, 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

Image credits

727px-Kansas_Statehouse_2015

By Crazy Fred ET - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44232292

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