The Kansas Legislative Research Department released the actual total State General Fund (SGF) receipts from the beginning of Fiscal Year 2013 July 1, 2012 to January 2013, as compared to the estimates made by the Consensus Estimating Group. Total receipts through January FY 2013 were $95.8 million, or 2.7 percent, above the estimate.

Tax sources that exceeded the estimate by more than $1 million were individual income ($107.2 million or 6.3 percent), corporate income ($6.8 million or 3.9 percent), insurance premiums ($5.1 million or 9.3 percent), motor carriers ($3.5 million or 22.3 percent), and liquor enforcement ($1.3 million or 3.6 percent).

Senate Bill 149 would require drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments if there is reasonable suspicion they are using illegal substances. The bill was introduced last week and has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee for hearings. The treatment programs required by SB 149 would be covered entirely by existing federal TANF funds, most of which would be saved by not paying benefits to illegal drug users. Thus, under the bill, Kansas taxpayers would not bear the cost of this treatment. This proposal is not intended to punish those receiving assistance who are addicted to illegal drugs, but to get those individuals the help and job skills needed to be productive members of the job market.

In 2011, the Kansas Legislature passed legislation that would provide a tax incentive to individuals moving to rural Kansas. Rural Opportunity Zones, also known as ROZ, are 50 counties that have been authorized to offer Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years and/or student loan repayments up to $15,000. ROZ has been a strong economic tool for our state. Since the adoption of the ROZ program, the state has received a total of 686 applications for individuals wanting to move to the authorized 50 counties, and 238 of the applications have been from out of state.

The goal of Senate Bill 61 is to put an emphasis on protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation. The bill also provides a fund, paid through mandatory fines by individuals convicted of human trafficking and related sex crimes, for victims of human trafficking. The bill passed the Senate 38-0.

Caryn Tyson is a Kansas state senator, representing District 12, which includes Franklin County. Email her at Caryn.Tyson@senate.ks.gov or call (785) 296-6838.