(TOPEKA) – Policy focused on mileage tax on vehicles, water, federal disaster programs, the lesser prairie chicken and other key issues was approved by members of the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) during the group’s annual business meeting December 2 in Wichita.
With the motor vehicle fuel tax having become an accepted method of assessing taxes to fund road repair in Kansas, the recent growth in electric vehicles has meant fewer people are paying their share. This has led government agencies to begin developing proposals for a mileage tax on all vehicles, which would unfairly penalize those who travel further distances more frequently, which tend to be those living in rural areas, and result in burdensome record-keeping requirements. Therefore, KLA members approved a new resolution opposing any mileage tax on motor vehicles or implements of husbandry, other than electric or hybrid motor vehicles.
Members also approved a new resolution regarding the governance of groundwater management districts (GMD). The policy supports current Kansas law that requires eligible board members and voters in GMD elections to be persons or entities that use water in an amount of one acre-foot or more, or own 40 contiguous acres or more. The resolution also makes clear KLA opposes legislation that would open GMD board eligibility or voting to any person over the age of 18, or that would prohibit legal entities from voting in a GMD election.
In regard to water policy, members also voted in favor of an amendment to a resolution addressing state water plan funding. The policy supports the Blue Ribbon Funding Task Force for Water Resource Management’s recommendation for funding the state water plan by setting aside a percentage of the existing statewide sales tax revenue.
Existing policy focused on the lesser prairie chicken was amended by the membership to reflect the recent listing, opposed by KLA, of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and parts of Texas; and as endangered in New Mexico and other parts of Texas by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Members maintained their support of grazing lands being included in the incidental take protection that was granted to cultivated agricultural practices in the 4(d) rule, but took the step of opposing the USFWS requirement for a third-party-approved grazing plan.
In addition, members approved an amendment to a resolution focused on livestock disaster programs. The revision supports federal legislation to improve such programs, including an increase in the payment limitations and adjusted gross income eligibility requirements for all USDA livestock disaster programs.
“KLA policy is developed through broad member input and constructive debate,” said KLA President Shawn Tiffany, a cattle feeder from Herington. “The resulting resolutions will direct officers and staff as we represent the membership on various issues during 2023.”
In all, KLA members approved 68 resolutions for 2023. Other issues addressed in KLA policy range from property rights to animal care to environmental regulations.
KLA is a 5,700-member trade organization representing the state’s livestock business on legislative, regulatory and industry issues at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.