The Kansas Legislature had a busy week filled with a multitude of bill hearings. KLA staff provided testimony on several bills of interest to members.
Water - The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources held hearings on HB 2279 and HB 2302. KLA staff testified in support of both bills. HB 2279 would require groundwater management districts to submit annual reports to the Legislature, identify priority areas of concern and create action plans to address those areas. HB 2302 would set aside 0.08 of a percentage point of statewide sales tax revenue for the state water plan fund (SWPF) and keep all water protection fees at their current level, which would provide $69 million for the fund. In addition, the bill would set aside $20 million annually for municipal water projects and dedicate $15 million per year for fiscal years 2024, 2025 and 2026 for the retirement of water supply storage debt associated with Milford and Perry reservoirs. SWPF would sunset after five years. Both bills await final action by the committee next week.
Wind tower light mitigation technology - KLA staff testified in support of SB 49 in the House Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications. The bill would require both new and existing wind towers to have light-mitigating technology systems. It also would authorize any county to issue revenue bonds for the purpose of paying all or part of the costs of purchase, acquisition and equipping of a lighting system for wind turbines. Additionally, KLA asked the committee to adopt an amendment that would require installation of light-mitigating technology no later than five years after the effective date of the legislation.
Property tax valuation - KLA testified in opposition to SB 274 in the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee. This bill would require county appraisers to use the cost approach for property tax appraisals of special purpose property, which includes feedyards. KLA expressed concerns that requiring feedlots to use the cost approach could distort current valuations and lead to an increase in property taxes.
Assessed value of property - In the House Committee on Taxation, KLA testified in opposition to HCR 5009, which would amend the state’s constitution to reduce the assessment rate of residential property from 11.5% to 9%. KLA expressed concern that HCR 5009 would unfairly shift the property tax burden from one class of taxpayers to another, namely those in agriculture. In addition, KLA staff pointed out that in rural counties, agricultural property, not residential property, contributes the greatest amount of assessed value to property taxation.
Members can stay up-to-date on what's happening during the session by following @newsfromKLA on Twitter or Facebook and the hashtag #KLAattheCapitol.