The Kansas Senate passed its school finance plan last week after lengthy debate. SB 142 would add roughly $92 million to the school finance formula in the upcoming fiscal year. This amount is intended to comply with last year’s Kansas Supreme Court ruling that the Legislature failed to account for inflation in its previous school finance plan.
Senators also moved to concur with the House changes to SB 22, sending the bill to Gov. Laura Kelly for her signature. SB 22 would reduce state income tax liability on individuals and corporations that increased during the 2018 tax year due to changes in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Members of the House added provisions including a one percentage point reduction in the sales tax rate on food and a requirement to collect taxes on internet sales in Kansas. The total reduction in revenue to the state would be $200 million in fiscal year 2020 and $145 million in fiscal year 2021.
The House Committee on Insurance tabled SB 32. The bill, requested by Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB), would allow KFB to offer a healthcare benefit product to members that is not compliant with the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). SB 32 was tabled after an amendment was passed that would require the plan to be ACA compliant, which, among other things, means the plan would have to cover pre-existing conditions. The amendment would hamper KFB’s ability to offer the product at a more affordable rate than current health insurance plans.
KLA provided testimony in opposition to HB 2368. The bill would grant an exemption from the property tax lid for local units of government and allow these governing bodies to fund transportation projects in excess of the rate of inflation, without first holding an election. Transportation projects are a large part of many county budgets. Providing an exemption from the tax lid for such projects essentially would negate the tax lid.
After passing the House 63-60, HB 2167 was referred to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. KLA testified in favor of HB 2167 during a two-day hearing. This bill would allow landowners to transfer a single hunt-on-your-own-land deer permit to a non-resident hunter who was unable to obtain a non-resident permit in the annual draw. KLA staff encourages interested members to visit with their state senators about the importance of this bill. The bill continues to receive stiff resistance from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, as well as some hunting groups.
KLA took part in an informational hearing on rail-trails. The House Agriculture Committee appointed a subcommittee to collect input on whether the rail-trail law should be amended. KLA explained the fence and maintenance requirements under the law and how that relates to the railroads that were there before the trails.