Kansas Mental
Health Coalition


  • March 15, 2016 9:21 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Report included dozens of recommendations

    By Megan Hart | March 15, 2016


    Advocates, committee try to craft consensus to fix Kansas mental health systemPhoto by Andy MarsoRep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, a Democrat from Kansas City, said the state needs to remove the stigma from mental illness and treat it like physical conditions.

    If he had a magic wand, Bill Persinger would turn back time to May 2009.

    Failing that, however, he would increase resources for crisis care and substance abuse treatment, said Persinger, who is CEO of Valeo Behavioral Health Care.

    Photo by Dave RanneyRep. Will Carpenter, a Republican from El Dorado, said he hopes the Social Services Budget committee will have a proposal to improve the state's mental health system by the end of this session.

    View larger photo

    Rep. Will Carpenter, chair of the House Social Services Budget committee, asked Persinger and two other people who testified before the committee on Tuesday afternoon what they would do to fix the state’s mental health system if given a magic wand as a way of narrowing down priorities. The Adult Continuum of Care Committee had produced a report with dozens of recommendations, but confronting them all at once would be impossible given limited resources, Carpenter said.

    Persinger said he chose May 2009 because the Community Mental Health Centers were relatively well-funded and could see people needing help within a reasonable time. Now, the centers struggle to find providers, and the state as a whole lacks resources to assist people who have mental illnesses with finding transportation, housing and jobs, he said.

    “I can find a psychiatrist. I can’t pay for them. They don’t earn back enough in fees,” he said. “The issue isn’t the lack of available people. It’s about finding them and getting them to stay and paying them enough. There a lot of other, more attractive places to go” than Kansas.

    Rick Cagan, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Kansas, said the state needs to improve its inpatient care. It also should explore peer-run respite facilities, which have been successful in other states, he said. Respite facilities are run by people who also experience mental illness, and can provide a low-stress environment for people who are dealing with a flare-up in their symptoms but who don’t need hospital care.

    “I think (respite facilities) would be a wonderful return on investment,” he said. “More public-private partnerships are what we’re shooting for so individuals can be hospitalized, if necessary, closer to home.”

    Amy Campbell, director of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, said the state needs to fund wrap-around services, because they decrease the likelihood a person will end up in jail or the state hospital, and offer incentives for people to go into mental health careers. She suggested the state also should continue investing in short-term crisis facilities like RSI, a small stabilization center operating in the former Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City.

    “They don’t have as many repeat customers coming back in crisis” after a stay at RSI, she said. “It’s sort of the low-hanging fruit, something you know that works.”

    Campbell objected strongly, however, when Kelly Ludlum, deputy secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said the department expects the crisis facilities to eventually become at least partially financially independent. Most people seeking crisis services don’t have Medicaid or private insurance, meaning the facility doesn’t have any way to collect payment for services provided to them, Campbell said.

    “If the state is not going to have an ongoing role in the existence of these entities, then just forget it. These are not profit-making facilities,” she said. “I’m not saying the state has to pay all the costs. The state has to help that (type of facility) survive.”

    Photo by Andy MarsoTim Keck, the interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, speaks at a mental health rally Tuesday. Keck told the crowd that Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kansas, should be a model for continuum of care reforms.

    View larger photo

    About 200 people attended a rally hosted by mental health advocates earlier in the day. At the rally, KDADS secretary Tim Keck said the Rainbow transition could serve as a model for other communities. He also said the state is working to improve staffing at its two struggling psychiatric hospitals and he expects the one in Osawatomie to be recertified by the federal government soon.

    But Keck acknowledged that challenges remain.

    “Our current system is stretched beyond its capacity,” Keck said.

    Starting toward solutions

    Carpenter said he intends for the committee to consider the advocates’ priorities and the other priorities from the Continuum of Care report as soon as its schedule allows. Its task will be to build a consensus that it can promote in a difficult budget year, he said.

    “I want to come out of here with a statement from this committee on mental health and where we can head that we can sell to the rest of our legislative friends,” he said.

    The state already is spending to treat people in the psychiatric hospitals and to house them in jail, Carpenter said, so the committee needs to come up with a consensus on how the state could save money long-term by investing in other areas of the mental health system. Most people are affected either directly or indirectly by mental health and substance abuse disorders, making it an issue the state needs to address now, he said.

    “This problem is there, it’s real and it’s being lived throughout our state,” he said. “I know we don’t have the resources, but we can’t just sit here and throw up our hands and say ‘We don’t have the resources.’”

    The issue isn’t the lack of available people. It’s about finding them and getting them to stay and paying them enough."

    - Bill Persinger, CEO of Valeo Behavioral Health Care

    Cagan said he wasn’t under any illusions the issues could be fixed quickly. The state needs a 10-year plan to begin reshaping its mental health system, he said, and may need to look even further into the future.

    “It’s a huge amount of gaps in our system. We can’t do them all at once. But we need a plan,” he said.

    Persinger said he sees one clear advantage in trying to improve mental health care in Kansas now: people who weren’t interested before are paying attention.

    “For one of the first times in my career, people want to talk about mental health other than when it affects their family,” he said.

    Checkoff could fund mental health programs

    The Senate Assessment and Taxation committee heard about one option to raise more funds for mental health programs on Tuesday, though it almost certainly would fall far short of what would be needed for system-wide changes.

    Senate Bill 447 would allow people to donate money while filing their state tax return to a fund for grants to raise awareness and reduce stigma related to mental illness and substance abuse. The Department of Revenue would deposit money into a specific fund, which the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services could use to fund the grants.

    Kansas currently allows people to choose from several funds on their tax return, including Meals on Wheels, habitat preservation for threatened species and breast cancer research.

    Kelly Ludlum, deputy secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said donated funds would be used for grants. The department would have to see how much money was donated and what proposals from community groups would maximize those funds before deciding how to distribute it, she said.

    “Generally, prevention offers more bang for the buck,” she said.

    One particular area of need is suicide prevention, Ludlum said. KDADS currently doesn’t fund any programs focused on the signs a person is contemplating suicide or how to get help. In 2014, 454 people in Kansas died by suicide, making it the 10th-leading cause of death overall and the second-leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.

    Colin Thomasset, associate director for the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, said the association supports the bill, but would like to see it cover grants for treatment.

    “We feel that this might be an oversight in the bill, as allowable programs involve awareness, prevention and stigma reduction – all very worthy aspects that can use more money,” he said. “However, it is also important to note that investing in community-based mental health services directly lowers healthcare costs.”

    Campbell agreed that treatment should be added to the list of possible uses of the grant funds. Implementing the checkoff would be a positive step, she said, but it won’t solve the state mental health system’s problems on its own.

    “The legislature should commit to close gaps in the continuum of care, and this could be a starting place,” she said. “447 won’t solve all of our problems in the mental health system, but it would be one more tool in the toolbox.”

    The nonprofit KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor reporting collaboration. All stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KHI.org when a story is reposted online.

    - See more at: http://www.khi.org/news/article/mental-health-rally-highlights-continuum-of-care-reform#sthash.QhRXnhCn.dpuf

  • March 15, 2016 1:35 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Mental Health Advocates Rally for a Robust Mental Health System

    By Lindsay Sax  | 

    Posted: Tue 1:02 PM, Mar 15, 2016


    TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Mental health advocates from across the state convened at the Statehouse to raise awareness that support services are important to Kansas communities.

    The Kansas Mental Health Coalition is sponsoring Tuesday’s event. It started with more than 350 members of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, advocates, patients and supports at an advocacy rally on the south side of the Statehouse.

    “Our biggest fears in the state of Kansas is that we will have continues erosion of the both outpatient and inpatient mental health services,” said Susan Crain Lewis, president, Kansas Mental Health Coalition.

    Crain Lewis says that the cuts in mental health funding will leave patients needing help without care.

    “When those services are not available those individuals that end up in crisis, they end up on our streets, they end up in our jails, they end up in our emergency rooms; none of the places are they getting treatment,” she said.

    In the afternoon Crain Lewis says that an informational hearing on the Adult Continuum of Care Report will be held. She says it is a step in the right direction discussing what a robust, effective mental health delivery system looks like.

  • August 17, 2015 10:57 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    August 10, 2015      For more information, contact:
    Angela de Rocha, Director of Communications
    Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

    TOPEKA – Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Dr. Susan Mosier and Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Kari Bruffett announced today a series of public forums to discuss integration of the state’s home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs.

    The forums are scheduled to be conducted in Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City, Coffeyville and Garden City. The agencies also plan to conduct one or more teleconference calls to discuss waiver integration, which will be announced at a later date.

    “Our goal is to speak to Kansans receiving HCBS services to understand and address their frustrations with the current waiver system,” Dr. Mosier said. “These forums will provide Kansans who are on HCBS waivers and their families the opportunity to give input about how the waivers work for them.”

    KDADS administers seven individual home- and community-based services Medicaid waivers for individuals with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury and autism, those with a need for technology assistance, youth with a serious emotional disturbance and the frail elderly. There are a specific list of services provide under each individual waiver.

    “A new 1115 waiver would allow us to establish an integrated set of services that would be available to all waiver recipients regardless of the waiver in which they are enrolled,” Secretary Bruffett said. “We want to move toward a system that no longer defines individuals by a specific disability, but rather by their needs and capabilities. CMS approval of a new Kansas 1115 Medicaid waiver would give us the ability to provide the right services to individuals regardless of their disability definition.”

    Participants may RSVP for these public meetings at the following link:


    Details of the forums are as follows:

    Tuesday, August 25
    Topeka Capitol Plaza Hotel
    1717 SW Topeka Blvd.
    Topeka, KS
    10:30 am-12 pm
    2-3:30 pm
    5:30-7 pm

    Wednesday, August 26
    Kansas City Hilton Garden Inn
    520 Minnesota Ave.
    Kansas City, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm
    5:30-7 pm

    Wednesday, August 26
    Wichita Marriott
    9100 Corporate Hills Drive
    Wichita, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm
    5:30-7 pm

    Thursday, August 27
    Coffeyville Sleep Inn & Suite
    202 W 11th Street
    Coffeyville, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm

    Thursday, August 27
    Garden City Clarion Inn
    1911 E Kansas Ave
    Garden City, KS
    10-11:30 am
    2-3:30 pm

    If a person with a disability needs a reasonable accommodation to participate in the call they should contact Laura Leistra at 785.296.4980 or by email atLaura.Leistra@kdads.ks.gov by Friday, August 21.

  • July 28, 2015 3:59 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Adult Continuum of Care Committee Report puts a finer point on the issue that many Kansas families already know – the Kansas mental health system is scrambling to meet the needs of Kansans with mental illness and substance use disorders.  The Kansas Mental Health Coalition endorses the report, and hopes the strategies suggested in the report will help the Department on Aging and Disability Services to build on its recent work  – bringing together Kansas City area stakeholders to form Rainbow Services Inc. and providing grant funds to Sedgwick County to create crisis services there.  There is more to be done.

    This summer, the further reduction of state mental health hospital beds has made the gaps in our continuum of care obvious.  The State and the community mental health centers have partnered to respond to the growing need, but financial and staff resources are in short supply.  The lack of appropriate, more intensive treatment options at the community level for people needing a higher level of treatment or a step down from hospitalization has been a barrier.  Where you live determines your opportunities for recovery, and even in the Kansas City region it is uncertain whether the model crisis and referral program at Rainbow is sustainable.  As stated in the report:  “An underfunded system is challenged to meet the basic needs of people with severe mental illness, let alone develop evidenced based practices, enhance existing services, or create needed alternatives of care.”

    We hope the Report will stimulate broader support for further community level investments and strategies targeted to improving the continuum.  The Report advocates expanding access to crisis services, residential programs, housing and peer programs, in addition to boosting community based outpatient programs.  The Committee also encourages improved transitions between facilities and communities, with treatment provided while people await admissions and after discharge. 

    In the short term, Kansas should apply for federal resources such as the Excellence in Mental Health Act, endorse change to the federal IMD Exclusion that prevents Medicaid reimbursement for some residential psychiatric treatment, and re-open the 60 beds at Osawatomie State Hospital as soon as practically possible.  (The beds are currently unavailable while safety repairs are made.)

    The Kansas Mental Health Coalition will review the report at its August meeting and is prepared to advocate for action to expand access to quality treatment for more Kansans.   One thing is certain, when we do not treat persons with mental illness, communities pay the price.  Individuals pay the price. People are all too often caught in an unending cycle of repeated hospitalizations or incarceration and the costs are more than fiscal, they include broken families, broken people and the loss of life itself.  

  • July 28, 2015 10:07 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Adult Continuum of Care Committee met for 9 weeks this summer to develop a report advising Secretary Kari Bruffett, Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services, of recommended strategies to improve the behavioral health continuum.  The Committee was created by the Secretary as the agency faced a remodeling project ordered by CMS at the Osawatomie State Hospital that takes 60 hospital beds out of operation for the summer.

    Read the Report.

    Read the Adult Continuum of Care Committee Charter.

  • June 16, 2015 2:36 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    June 12 2015 – Friday – marked the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.  It was the longest legislative session in Kansas history at 113 days. The Legislature will return on Friday, June 26 for sine die – the procedural “last day”.  Legislators will have to take a vote on Friday, to correct an inconsistency in the final tax legislation.

    Most of those who live and work daily with the Legislature would mark this session as a painful one.  The choices that were left on the table at the end were not what anyone would have wanted – passing the largest tax increase in Kansas history, when measured in terms of overall revenue at $385 million.   And, although Governor Brownback is painting the final tax legislation as consistent with the objectives of the “path to zero” income tax experiment, the Republicans who dominate the Kansas Legislature’s majority are hoping mightily that their efforts will have been enough to balance the budget for at least two years.  Some advisors have indicated that a least two elements of the revenue package are not reliable, and if the taxation of LLC guaranteed payments does not raise $23.7 m and the tax amnesty plan does not raise $30 m, legislators may have to raise taxes again next year.  That is something they will need to avoid, and hope that the voters won’t remember this session when they cast their votes in November 2016.


    SB 112 is the mega-budget bill that had been agreed – for the most part – early in May by the conference committee and was ultimately adopted.  Read the conference committee report description here.  It was further amended by the budget conference committee to include most of the Governor’s Budget Amendments and a few omnibus adjustments.   

    For behavioral health, the Governor’s budget cuts to state general funds stand – resulting in reduced contracts for a variety of programs including Keys for Networking, NAMI, Kansas Family Partnership, CROs, CAC and others.  On the other hand, there is the revolving loan fund – investing the income from the sale of Rainbow Hospital building into crisis/hospital diversion services, a $500,000 addition to OSH, $3.4 m supplement to care for people diverted from OSH during the renovations this summer, and the continuation of the Governor’s mental health initiative grants from last year.

    It was a risky plan – to hold over the mega-budget agreement until the veto session and attempt to push it through without further major adjustments.  The Governor and administration officials wanted to keep the budget as agreed during the regular session and avoid deeper cuts into the agencies.  The Governor had promised K-12 and Regents Universities that no further reductions would be made. But for many legislators, the 4% state general fund cuts, the transfers of fee fund balances and reductions to existing programs already contained in the budget were forgotten in the months since the regular session.  Many were pushing for deeper reductions to state spending rather than voting for any kind of tax increases.   Estimates varied, but an additional 6.2% across the board state general fund cut was promoted as a way to close the $406 million gap and avoid tax increases altogether.  “Kansas doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” was the quote often heard as the House and Senate each debated and rejected multiple variations of HB 2109 and SB 270 – the tax bills.

    The threat level was increased in the first week of June, as Shawn Sullivan, Budget Director, warned legislators that the state might have to lay off thousands of state employees if the budget bill was not adopted soon.  The House moved forward and adopted H Sub for SB 112 with no debate on June 3.   The Senate, however, would not debate the budget bill until it had approved a revenue package.  Saturday, June 6, the House and Senate quickly adopted a brief change to Kansas statute to prevent state employee furloughs.  The temporary fix in SB 11 classifies all state employees as “essential” for the balance of the month of June.  This prevents the furlough of 24,000 state employees deemed “nonessential” who received notices on Friday.  Read KHI article.

    Sunday, June 7, after passing the conference committee report on S Sub for HB 2109, the revenue package – raising $406 million revenue in this version – the Senate adopted H Sub for SB 112, the major budget bill of the 2015 legislative session.  Although many hoped the Senate action would lead to House approval the next day – and adjournment, it would be five more days (and two more very late nights) before the veto session would end.

    To form the state budget for FY 15, FY 16 and FY 17, in addition to H Sub for SB 112, the Legislature passed a rescission bill (further reducing the FY 15 budget early in the session), a Judiciary budget bill, and the K-12 block grant funding bill. 


    The final tax package is a combination of S Sub for HB 2109 as adopted by the Senate on June 7 and the tax trailer bill H Sub for SB 270 – which was written to amend HB 2109 in order to gain passage in the House.   A third piece of the puzzle is the modified fee plan for managed care organizations proposed by the Governor’s original budget, which brings in $47.8 million by drawing federal funds into the Medicaid program.

    Multiple combinations of revenue ideas were put forward, debated and ultimately voted up or down in the last 23 days of the session.  In some ways, the development of the revenue package was one of the most democratic processes we have seen in the Legislature for some time.  The Senate debated its tax bill for several days, with multiple amendments considered, before putting HB 2109 into conference committee.  Once in conference, it took five conference committee reports to find a plan that was not rejected by one chamber or the other.  This meant multiple floor debates in each chamber discussing the options.

    The final tax package includes:

    • -          State Sales Tax Increase from 6.15% to 6.5%  ($164 m)  (H 2109 as passed by the Senate increased to 6.55%)
    • -          Increases cigarette taxes 50 cents per pack ($40 m)
    • -          Amends the 2012 tax exemption for LLCs to tax “guaranteed payments” ($23.7 m)
    • -          Reduces itemized income tax deductions ($97 m)
    • -          Creates tax amnesty program for delinquent tax payments ($30 m)
    • -          Freezes income tax rates that are scheduled to decrease ($26.4 m)
    • -          Raises $384.7 million for FY 16 (H 2109 as passed by the Senate would have raised $406 m)
    • -          Requires the Governor to cut an additional $50 million to reach an ending balance of $86 million for FY 16   (We do not know where these cuts will occur, although a significant portion is likely to come from IT.)
    • -          Eliminates income taxes for the state’s 388,000 lowest income tax paying citizens in FY 17
    • -          Sets a 2.5% limit for revenue growth – triggering income tax rate reductions whenever revenue exceeds the limit (H 2109 as passed by the Senate included 3% limit)
    • -          Maintains the current food sales tax rebate (H 2109 as passed by the Senate repealed the rebate, but reduced the sales tax rate on food to 4.95%.   Legislators hope that reducing food sales tax rates can be achieved in a future session.)

    When the Senate approved S Sub for HB 2109 on June 7, it included two very controversial sections.  First, the sunset of numerous sales tax exemption statutes by 2018 – with a committee created to review and recommend whether or not those exemptions should remain in law.   This provision caused great concern for hospitals, non-profits and others.   The section was dropped from the final package, but the Legislature plans to spend time next session reviewing sales tax exemptions for possible repeal.  This exercise has been done in the past, without successfully reforming the exemption statutes in the way that proponents would like to see.

    Second, a property tax lid provision that would require a public vote whenever local governments raised property taxes beyond a certain rate.   The final package loosens the restrictions, allowing for increases based on rate of inflation, infrastructure, road construction, bonds and interest, state and federal mandates, etc.

    At the end, there was a joint meeting of House and Senate Republicans where the Governor’s staff threatened terrible budget cuts within 3 days.  Legislative leaders urged the caucus to make the very difficult votes needed to end the session.   Democrats and moderate Republicans held firm, unwilling to go on the record voting for any tax increases – most stating that they would not help to solve the budget problems they believe were caused by the income tax cuts of 2012 and 2013.  This meant that the Republican conservatives were then fragmented into smaller contingents, mostly including what could be called the center right and the ultra-conservatives.  It was these groups that had to forge a compromise to adopt a revenue plan in order to balance the budget.  But for some to move away from their anti-taxation principles was extremely difficult, and there were rifts created and relationships marred.   The lessons of the 2010 and 2012 elections were quite clear – with groups such as the Kansas Chamber, Americans for Prosperity, and the Kansas Policy Institute raining postcards into legislative races against those deemed as “tax and spend” politicians.  It will be interesting to see how many conservative Republicans will have to pay a similar price in 2016 for voting for the 2015 tax increases – being touted as the largest tax increase in Kansas history.

    Read KHI Article: Why the Legislature is Struggling to Pass a Tax Plan.

  • June 10, 2015 6:39 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment will soon convene an advisory committee to create recommendations for managing behavioral health medications in Medicaid.  The committee is created by HB 2149, signed by Governor Brownback on May 15.  The conference committee report also includes other Medicaid policy provisions.  Read a description of the bill here.  

     HB 2149 was originally a bill to provide for Medicaid coverage of donor breast milk.  The Senate added the provisions of SB 181 - creating an expedited process for newly introduced prescription medications.  The Senate also inserted a new plan for instituting management of mental health medications in Medicaid through a specialized advisory committee.  This advisory committee was proposed after SB 123 was defeated by the Senate.  Senators agreed with advocates that SB 123 went too far by deleting the statutes that exempt mental health medications from prior authorizations or other drug management restrictions.  

    The bill allows prior authorization or other restrictions on medications used to treat mental illness to be imposed on Medicaid recipients for medications subject to guidelines developed by the Board in accordance with provisions of the bill; establishes instances not to be construed as restrictions; provides for the development of guidelines; establishes requirements for Board review of medications used to treat mental illness available for use before and after July 1, 2015; and creates a Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee (Committee), outlining Committee membership and appointments, meeting frequency, and member compensation.   

    Advocates view the new provisions as a better option than SB 123 - which would have simply deleted the statutory exemption from Medicaid management for MH drugs.  SB 123 was defeated by the Senate.   Read more about this issue.

    The section of the bill regarding approval of new prescription medications (SB 181) amends the procedures regarding restrictions of patients’ access to any new prescription-only drug under the Kansas Medicaid Program and would establish meeting requirements for the Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board (Board). 

  • June 05, 2015 11:00 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    As posted at www.kshouserepublicans.com Friday, June 5th, 2015 @ 9:08AM

    TOPEKA–House leaders and House Republican legislators on Friday implored the Kansas Senate to pass the conference committee report on the state budget without delay to prevent state government furloughs.

    The House passed the budget on Wednesday. Without Senate approval and a signature from Governor Brownback, non-essential state government workers in the executive branch will be furloughed beginning Monday.

    “There is no time to waste. Kansans expect state government to be there for them when they need it, and state workers who provide valuable services should not have to endure furloughs because the Senate stalled on taking up the budget,” said House Speaker Ray Merrick (R-Stilwell). “While some parts of this process were unavoidably delayed, this budget plan was constructed over the course of months and the time to act is now.”

    Meanwhile, tax negotiations in order to fill the roughly $348 million hole in the budget the House approved are ongoing.

    “The unfortunate reality is that revenues will be raised this year because we made a commitment to K-12 schools not to cut their funding and we kept that promise with the budget we passed,” said House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey (R-Louisburg). “We scoured the other half of the budget for savings and we implemented them. Now we are going to find a tax compromise and get it passed.”

    The budget passed by the House represents a 2.3 percent increase in FY 16 over the current fiscal year, and a .47 percent increase in FY 17. The slight increases represent funding for K-12 education, KPERS, and social services caseloads. The budget keeps Regents’ funding steady, and also includes a tuition freeze limited to the 2 percent over the rate of inflation. It also includes $3 million to fund an efficiency study that will identify further savings in state government to ensure the most effective use of taxpayer dollars. It imposes a 25 percent reduction on executive branch travel, as well as reduced subscriptions and advertising expenditures for agencies, in addition to other efficiencies.

    “I applaud Senate President Susan Wagle in her efforts to push this process forward, and ask Senate Majority Leader Bruce to join her in the movement to debate and pass the budget we sent them,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast (R-Emporia).

    Representatives who voted yes on the budget conference committee report and join with leadership in calling on the Senate to pass it as soon as possible include:

    Rep. Bud Estes (R-Dodge City); Rep. Mike Houser (R-Columbus); Rep. James Todd (R-Overland Park); Rep. Jack Thimesch (R-Cunningham); Rep Gene Suellentrop (R-Wichita); Rep. Keith Esau (R-Olathe); Rep Lane Hemsley (R-Topeka); Rep. Becky Hutchins (R-Holton); Rep. Steven Johnson (R-Assaria); John Ewy (R-Jetmore); Rep. Sharon Schwartz (R-Washington); Rep. Kyle Hoffman (R-Coldwater); Rep. Mark Hutton (R-Wichita); Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita); Rep. Ron Highland (R-Wamego); Rep. Kent Thompson (R-Iola); Rep. Randy Powell (R-Olathe); Rep. Steve Alford (R-Ulysses); Rep. Steve Anthimides (R-Wichita); Rep. John Barker (R-Abilene); Rep. Tony Barton (R-Leavenworth); Rep. Rick Billinger (R-Goodland); Rep. Troy Waymaster (R-Bunker Hill); Rep. Sue Boldra (R-Hays); Rep. Kristey Williams (R-Augusta); Rep. John Whitmer (R-Wichita); Rep. Chuck Smith (R-Pittsburg); Rep. Joe Seiwert (R-Pretty Prairie); Rep. Scott Schwab (R-Olathe); Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita); Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady (R-Palco); Rep. Larry Campbell (R-Olathe); Rep. Blake Carpenter (R-Derby); Rep. Will Carpenter (R-El Dorado); Rep. Susan Concannon(R-Beloit); Rep. Ken Corbet (R-Topeka); Rep. Erin Davis (R-Olathe); Rep. Willie Dove (R-Bonner Springs); Rep. Dick Jones (R-Topeka); Rep. Jim Kelly (R-Independence); Rep. Jerry Lunn (R-Overland Park); Rep. Charles Macheers (R-Shawnee); Rep. Les Mason (R-McPherson); Rep. Les Osterman (R-Wichita); Rep. Jan Pauls (R-Hutchinson); Rep. Richard Proehl (R-Parsons); Rep. Marty Read (R-Mound City); Rep. Marc Rhoades (Newton); Rep. Ron Ryckman Sr. (R-Meade); Don Schroeder (R-Inman); Dennis Hedke (R-Wichita).


  • June 04, 2015 4:18 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The proposal was as follows:


    As Agreed to June 4, 2015 Brief – excerpt from www.kslegislature.org  

    Senate Sub. for SB 270 would make a number of changes in law regarding individual income tax, sales and compensating use tax provisions, motor vehicle registration and taxes, fire district taxation, and taxes on cigarettes, and would enact a tax amnesty for a number of tax sources. Amnesty Provisions The bill would authorize a tax amnesty for penalties and interest relative to certain delinquent taxes provided such taxes are paid in full from September 1, 2015, to October 15, 2015. The amnesty would apply to privilege, income, estate, cigarette, tobacco products, liquor enforcement, liquor drink, severance, state sales, state use, local sales, and local use taxes. The amnesty would be limited to penalties and interest applied to liabilities associated with tax periods ending on or before December 31, 2013. The amnesty would not apply to any matter for which, on or after September 1, 2015, taxpayers have received notices of assessment or for which an audit had previously been initiated. Any fraud or intentional misrepresentation in connection with an amnesty application would void the application and waiver of any penalties and interest.

    Individual Income Tax Provisions Guaranteed Payments - The bill would revise an income tax subtraction modification for certain pass-through non-wage business income to require that guaranteed payments from businesses are counted as income in determining Kansas adjusted gross income. Rate Freeze Individual income tax rate reductions scheduled for future years would be decelerated. The tax year 2015 rates of 2.7 percent for the bottom tax bracket and 4.6 percent for the top tax bracket would become the tax rates through tax year 2018. The tax year 2019 rates would be 2.4 percent and 4.5 percent. The tax rates for tax year 2020 and all tax years thereafter would be 2.3 percent and 4.3 percent. A provision that could provide future formulaic income tax rate relief under certain circumstances, based on the extent to which revenue from a specified group of State General Fund (SGF) tax sources has increased over the previous fiscal year, would be repealed.

    Low Income Tax Exclusion - The bill would provide that individual taxpayers with taxable income of $5,000 or less and married taxpayers filing jointly with taxable income of $12,500 or less would have no income tax liability beginning in tax year 2017. Itemized Deductions

    Modification Acceleration - A number of changes would be enacted for Kansas itemized deductions retroactive to January 1 (the start of tax year 2015). With the exception of charitable contributions, mortgage interest, and property taxes paid, all Kansas itemized deductions would be repealed. The current changes in the percentage that could be deducted (“haircuts”) being phased in for mortgage interest and property taxes paid relative to the amount that otherwise is allowed for federal income tax purposes would be accelerated such that the final 50 percent haircut currently scheduled for tax year 2017 would be effective immediately. (Charitable contributions would remain fully deductible for Kansas taxpayers able to itemize at the state level, as under current law.)

    Individual Development Account Tax Credit - The bill would restore, effective for tax year 2015, a tax credit that previously had been available for certain individual development account (IDA) contributions. That credit had been discontinued beginning in tax year 2013, pursuant to repeal in 2012 legislation.

    ROZ Program - The Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) program, which provides an income tax exemption for certain individuals who establish residency in selected counties, would be extended. The program, which is currently scheduled to sunset in tax year 2017, would be extended for two years and be scheduled to sunset in tax year 2019. (The ROZ program also authorizes the repayment of student loans by participating counties and the state under specific circumstances.)

    Christmas Tree Net Gain - The bill would create a subtraction modification from federal adjusted gross income in calculating Kansas adjusted gross income for the net gain from the sale of Christmas trees.

    Social Security Number Requirement - The bill would require an individual claiming a tax credit to have a valid Social Security number for the entire taxable year for which the tax credit is claimed.

    Sales and Use Tax Provisions Sales and Use Tax Rates - The statewide sales tax and use tax rate would be increased from 6.15 percent to 6.65 percent on July 1, 2015. A second rate for purchases of food and food ingredients of 5.95 percent would become effective January 1, 2016.

    Local Sales Tax Provisions - Additional provisions would authorize additional local sales tax authority for three counties—Thomas, Douglas, and Bourbon—for purposes of financing construction or remodeling of a courthouse, jail, law enforcement facility, or other county administrative facility. Thomas County would be granted an additional 0.5 percent authority, Douglas County would be granted an additional 0.5 percent authority, and Bourbon County would be granted additional authority of up to 1.0 percent.

       Relative to this new authority, all counties also would have an exception to the normal countywide sales tax distribution formula, which otherwise requires that funds be shared with cities. Voter approval would be required prior to the implementation of the new tax authority for Thomas County and Douglas County. For Bourbon County, the result of a previously held election would be declared valid for the implementation of the new tax authority.

    Cigarette Tax Provisions - The bill would increase the state’s cigarette tax by $0.50 per pack to $1.29 per pack beginning July 1, 2015. The bill also would establish an inventory tax for all cigarettes on hand as of July 1, 2015. The inventory tax would be $0.50 per pack for cigarettes on hand as of July 1, 2015. The inventory tax would be due on October 31, 2015.

    Motor Vehicle Registration and Tax Provisions - The bill would require the Department of Revenue to mail a copy of the motor vehicle registration application to the owner of a motor vehicle, including all information required to enable the owner to register the vehicle and pay the tax by return mail.

    Fire Districts - A final section of the bill would clarify the property tax levying authority of consolidated fire districts with respect to their authority to levy more than 15 mills.

    Conference Committee Action

    The second Conference Committee on June 4 agreed to amend the contents of House Substitute for SB 270, as amended by the House on Final Action, by changing the repeal of the ROZ program sunset to a two-year extension of the program and retaining its other tax provisions. The Conference Committee also agreed to add provisions related to individual income tax and guaranteed payments, rates, exclusions, itemized deductions, treatment of Christmas tree sale income, and Social Security number requirements for credits; statewide sales and use tax rates; cigarette taxes; and motor vehicle registration and tax provisions.


    The original bill would have made several changes to the Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program Act. The House Taxation Committee, on May 13, struck the bill’s original provisions; recommended a substitute bill be created; inserted various new provisions, including the tax amnesty provisions; and advanced the new substitute bill for further consideration without recommendation. The House Committee of the Whole, on May 15, adopted a minor technical amendment. On May 29, the House amended the bill on final action to remove the contents of the substitute bill, other than the amnesty provisions, and add the other provisions described above as being in the House Committee of the Whole version of the bill.

  • June 03, 2015 1:51 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    June 3, 2015

    Observers and many Representatives were stunned when the House of Representatives adopted House Sub for SB 112 with no debate with a vote of 64 to 48.  The three minute action left some members wondering if there had been an intentional rush to avoid public debate.  The House Majority Leader indicated that there were no lights on to indicate that members wanted to speak on the proposal.

    This is truly surprising because the House never debated a mega-budget or omnibus budget on the floor this year.  While the Appropriations Committee did develop a budget position in committee and did adopt many of the included positions (including adopting most of the Governor's Budget Amendments) - the committee bill was never brought above the line for debate in the House.  Instead, the Senate adopted a mega-budget bill (crafted by the Senate Ways and Means Committee) prior to the April break and every adjustment since then has been simply inserted into the conference committee, including all post-April items that normally would take shape as an omnibus bill.

    Many legislators believe that this was “as good as the budget would get” at this late date.  The conference committee has also created another option – Senate Sub for HB 2135 would cut an additional 5.7% from all agencies.  While there are some conservatives who would like a chance to vote for that proposal, it would create many problems if passed.  For one thing, our Medicaid program (KanCare) is required to provide “maintenance of effort” according to federal requirements or incur penalties, meaning equal and/or more services and equal and/or expanded eligibility.  A 5.7% cut would have to include provider reimbursement cuts and would reduce the federal funds for the program.  The cut to K-12 Education would almost certainly draw the attention of the Kansas Supreme Court.

    Read the conference committee report and a full explanation of the bill at


    Scroll below to the chart of “Bill History”.  The bill copy and supplemental note at the top of the page describe the bill as originally passed – and NOT the mega-budget as agreed by the conference committee.

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