School funding is a topic being discussed and researched.

In 2009, education funding was cut. The past two years, overall funding for education has increased, and it appears that is the proposal for this year. There are several questions being asked about how the funding is distributed and how the money is being managed. It is important that we are utilizing the resources we have to provide a quality education for our students.

At the end of the fifth week of the 2013 legislative session, we are approaching “Turn Around Day” — which means a bill must be voted out of its chamber of origin or it will die if not in an exempt committee.

The Senate will debate tax bills this week or next. The governor’s tax reform proposal will lower income taxes, while removing the mortgage interest deduction and property tax deduction. The overall goal of the governor’s plan is to work toward the goal of having no state income tax. In exchange for much lower income tax rates, the plan leaves the state sales tax flat at its current level of 6.3 percent. There are several other options being debated, including one that would lower all tax deductions and credits proportionally.

Cost of Medicaid

Kansas, along with other states, is bracing for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (also referred to as Obamacare). The Supreme Court ruled last summer that the legislation-mandated expansion of state-run Medicaid programs is optional. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that an independent study shows that Medicaid expansion could cost Kansas as much as $600 million more during the next 10 years, which would make the total cost of providing Medicaid $1.1 billion during the next decade. As a result of the study, Gov. Sam Brownback said the Medicaid expansion would put additional pressure on K-12 funding for the state. No money for Medicaid expansion is included in this year’s proposed budget.

Taxpayer-funded lobbying vote

The Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee had a hearing on legislation to prohibit the use of public funds either directly or indirectly for lobbying at the state level. The bill prohibits the use of taxpayer funds from being used to hire a lobbyist, or paying membership dues to an organization that lobbies the state.

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.