Wrap-Up Newsletter from 6-6-17
The wrap up to the session is very much as many described. It comes together very quickly. Sunday night the Senate passed the budget. The House has not completed that component yet but when it does the two approved budgets will go to conference committee to reconcile differences. Typically the Governor’s budget is the baseline. Some of the differences between the Governor’s budget and the Senate budget include: KPERS: The Governor’s budget recommended going back to the 2016 level of funding which did not pay for the last quarter of KPERS. The Senate put the last quarter into the budget which had a price tag of $135 million: two percent salary increase for state employees; Many state employees have not had a salary increase for nearly ten years. It amounted to about $22 million: A and M: The governor recommended a savings of $47 million from the A and M study which, on further review was not achievable.There were also a mix of other increases that addressed areas that had been neglected over the past few years.
The first major bill passed by the Senate on Monday night was the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act, better known as the school finance bill. It did not change appreciably from the last bill the Senate passed. It did include base state aid at $4006 in 2017 increasing to $4128 in 2018. Many of the weighting factors that were in the original finance formula are in this plan. The bill was also passed by the House and will go to the Governor for his signature. If he signs the bill, the Supreme Court will then rule on its constitutionality.
Also on Monday night the Senate approved a tax plan that was a compromise position between the Senate and House. It provides a slight increase in 2017 taxes going from 2.7 to 2.9 percent for those making up to $30,000; 4.6 to 4.9 percent for those making $30,001-$60,000 and 4.6 to 5.2 percent for those making more than $60,000. In 2018, using the same brackets, the tax rate would increase to 3.1 percent, 5.25 percent, and 5.7 percent. Medical deductions would be phased in over three years as would mortgage interest and property tax deduction and childcare and dependent care. The LLC tax loophole was also closed. These rates are still dramatically lower than the 2012 rates which were 3.5 percent for those making up to $30,000, 6.25 for those making $30,001 to $60,000 and 6.45 for those making more than $60,000. The tax bill passed 26-14 in the Senate.
The Governor has indicated that he will veto the tax plan. It takes 27 votes to override in the Senate and 84 votes to override in the House.
It is anticipated that the session will officially end late this week unless other issues arise.
Once again, thanks for the opportunity to serve the residents of the 34th Senatorial District of Kansas.
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