Committee Work: Every odd-numbered year the legislature begins with a clean slate of bills. A majority of work is in committees for the first few weeks of session. This year is no exception. During a presentation Secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) said that we will NEVER hear her say KDOT has enough money. Translation, you can never pay enough in taxes to satisfy the want. When I asked for clarification, the response was that Kansans have asked KDOT for approximately $16 billion in projects. That is more than double the State General Fund (SGF) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which is around $7 billion. It’s no wonder government is a mess. Government needs to be ran as efficiently as possible to provide infrastructure and safety.
For Your Information (FYI): The Secretary also testified that Kansas has the 4th largest public road length in the nation. California, Texas, Illinois, have larger public systems than Kansas.
Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS): Senate Bill (SB) 9 would require the KPERS payment due this quarter be paid on-time and not delayed. This would save taxpayer money and reduce KPERS unfunded liability. The bill passed out of committee and is scheduled to be worked on the Senate floor. There are 18 co-sponsors, including myself. At this point, it appears the bill will pass the full Senate.
Taxes Collected: The ‘sky is falling’ according to some recent media reports. Kansas “revenues”, i.e. taxes collected, were down for the month of January — below estimates by approximately $49 million. However, the part of the story that is not being touted is that taxes collected remain up $95 million more than the previous Fiscal Year (FY). Over $4.03 billion has been collected since FY 2019 (July 2018). Since 2015 the State has collected an increase of $1.2 billion MORE in taxes for the State General Fund (SGF). The SGF went from approximately $6 billion to over $7 billion in less than five years. We CANNOT continue to grow government at this rate.
Hunting and Fishing Fees: Wildlife and Parks requested SB 50 to increase almost all hunting and fishing fees by 50 percent and some 100 percent. For example, a combination resident hunting and fishing license would go from $50 to $100; a lifetime hunting and fishing license would increase from $1,000 to $1,500; A non-resident hunting and fishing license would increase from $200 to $300. I do not support these increases and have heard from several constituents that are outraged at the proposal.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.