As the 2019 session begins, we are still in a lawsuit on K-12 funding. This lawsuit was filed in 2010.

An article in the Wall Street Journal, Jan. 16, 2014, still holds true today, “If there’s one certain conclusion from the last 30 years of education reform, it is that more money doesn’t yield better student results. But you wouldn’t know it from the debate in Kansas, where activists are trying to get the state Supreme Court to overrule the legislature and spend at least $500 million more a year on schools…. This is a test of democracy with national resonance.

The Kansas Constitution requires the legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. Eight [now 14] years later spending has risen but test scores are flat... Apart from the [Obama] stimulus, which was never meant to be permanent, Kansas school appropriations have risen slowly but steadily every year.”

Currently, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget for education is over 62% of the State General Fund (SGF) — over $4 billion. How much is enough? We must stop the Supreme Court overreach. It is the responsibility of the legislature to determine appropriate spending. The courts should not be deciding a dollar amount.

Much of the 2018 session was spent responding to the 2017 Federal tax changes and its impact to Kansans. If changes are not made to current tax law, Kansans will pay more than $130 million in extra taxes, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR). It is being referred to as the “windfall” — the state government windfall. Before the 2019 session, I pre-filed legislation to stop the windfall. Over 25 percent of state senators signed to support this effort. I will continue to fight to stop the government windfall and get the money back to the Kansas taxpayers as it was intended.

Kansans currently pay income tax on 50 percent of expenses such as medical, mortgage interest, and real estate & property tax deductions. The Senate passed legislation twice last year to allow 100 percent of these deductions. However, the House killed it. Taxpayers are still feeling the 2017 massive Kansas tax increase, which was around a billion dollars, and the 2015 Kansas tax increase (mainly sales tax) that grew government by over $400 million

We do not need another tax increase. In my eight years in the legislature, I have fought for and will continue to fight for smaller, smarter government. I did NOT vote for or support the largest (2017) or the second largest (2015) tax increase that I have been accused of supporting. It is disappointing when lies and misrepresentation of the truth are considered acceptable. Please stand with me in demanding more from our government, those serving, and those attempting to serve.

I am doing my best to protect your freedom. I don’t care to be politically correct but I am working to be constitutionally correct.

Please contact me with any questions or comments via phone 785.296.6838; email Caryn.Tyson@senate.ks.gov; or by mail, at Kansas State Capitol, 300 SW 10th St., Topeka, KS 66612.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.