Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

Another Tax Bill Rejected

May 23, 2017 9:01 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

Tomorrow is Day 100 of the 2017 Kansas Legislative Session – Another Tax Bill Rejected

House leaders hoped to gain progress as they began the 4th week of the Veto Session with a new tax bill – but it did not work out as planned.  The Tax Conference Committee crafted Sub for SB 30 on Monday afternoon, and the House debated the bill at 7 p.m. Monday evening.  It was a combination of income tax increases and motor fuels tax anticipated to raise about $600 million per year. 

It appeared this new tax package might pass – afternoon social media posts by several moderate interest groups supported the plan – but it failed 53-68.  Read SB 30 Summary here.  Most of the House Democrats have pledged to hold out until an education funding plan is part of the package.  Multiple Republicans spoke against the bill – saying it raised more revenue than is necessary to close the immediate budget gap.  That is unclear without an education plan.

Read the article : Kansas Votes Down Latest Plan to Roll Back Brownback Tax Plan – Kansas City Star http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article152071472.html

House and Senate leaders have been working to close the $900 million budget gap between revenues and forecast expenditures before resolving the education funding challenge put forth by the Kansas Supreme Court.  In order to do that, they would need to convince enough education supporters that there will be a separate funding bill that is sufficient to satisfy the court before the end of the session, and many just aren’t buying it. 

So, all of those who are counting on pieces of the mega-budget and omnibus budget plans must simply wait to see if tax policy can be crafted that would preserve their needs while also covering whatever new funding target the Legislature adopts for K-12 education.  (Neither the mega-budget nor omnibus budget proposals have been voted on by either chamber.)

The Senate Education Budget Committee is meeting this afternoon and Chair Jim Denning suggested they may work well into the night to put together a Senate education plan. The Senate has lagged behind the House in working on an education proposal.

The House Education Budget Committee passed a bill “without recommendation” on May 15 that would spend an additional $179 million in the 1st year and $100 million in the 2nd year, but it has not seen action in the full House.  Many were disappointed with that proposal, because it fell short of a plan that had been under development in the committee to increase K-12 funding $150 million per year for five years.  The bill does fund all-day kindergarten and adds $21 million for at risk students.   If that bill reaches the House floor for debate, it is certain to draw many amendments.

Last Friday, House Minority Leader Jim Ward offered a motion to pull that bill above the line for immediate House debate, but it was denied – and the Speaker called it “theatrics”.

The Supreme Court ordered the Kansas Legislature to address school funding adequacy by June 30.

(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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