The 2018 session is officially half-over.
All the bills for this session can be found online at www.KSLegislature.gov
It can be an effort to track legislation, but it is important that legislators spend time understanding bills and the process. Last week, a senator said he “introduced a bill”. He may have worked on the bill in which he was referring to but he couldn’t have introduced it because it was a House Bill. Senators do not introduce House Bills. Senate bills are numbered with three digits and House bills are numbered with four digits — the first two digits being 20.
The state is taking in more of your hard-earned money. Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) reported taxes collected for February 2018 was $373 million, up $41 million from February 2017 and almost $27 million over estimates. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 began July 1, 2017, the state has collected $270 million above estimates, totaling $4.5 billion in taxes collected. The governor’s 2018 budget recommends K-12 funding to be $4.3 billion for the 286 school districts. It doesn’t mean that’s what the Legislature will agree with but if last year is an indicator — hold on to your wallets. When will common sense take hold?
K-12 lawsuit — Senate leadership hired experts in school finance to assist in the latest ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court. One of the experts, Dr. Lori Taylor from Texas A&M was raised in Salina, Kansas, and has a PhD in economics. Her focus is in school finance and has consulted for numerous state Legislatures on the topic. Her report on K-12 funding should be finalized mid-March. This should give the Legislature a better picture of how to address K-12 funding.
Property tax — Discussions on property tax continued in the Senate tax committee. Big chains, such as Walmart, Marriot Hotel, and others, had an opportunity to tell how they have been impacted by property tax increases. Some of there valuations went up millions of dollars in one year. We also heard from a tax expert who said it appears some valuations were based on the success of the business inside the building. Property tax should not be based on income. Earlier this year and during interim committee meetings the committee heard from KDOR Property Valuation Department (PVD), county appraisers, Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) and different property owners. After hearing from these groups, there are some saying they never got a chance to tell their story. That is not accurate. However, the committee were to hear from them again this week.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your senator.
Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, is state senator for the 12th District.