KEPC UPDATE: Transpo Task Force, Economic Lifelines Leadership, job growth, revenue up, 2018 legislative summary

In this issue …

  • Transportation Task Force meetings set
  • DeSoignie takes helm at Economic Lifelines for now
  • Kansas grows jobs above national average
  • State revenues up but will they continue?
  • 2018 legislative summary now available


Transportation Task Force meetings set

The Transportation Task Force set up by the 2018 Kansas Legislature has organized.

At a recent meeting, members heard about the system’s current condition and the 21 projects approved but now delayed due to lack of funding.  Because of the diversion of revenue intended for highways, there is $2 billion less than the original estimate.

Here’s the schedule of meetings to be held across the state:

  • Salina – September 6
  • Wyandotte County – September 12
  • Pittsburg – September 20
  • Newton – October 4
  • Garden City – October 11
  • Wichita – October 18
  • Hays – October 24
  • Johnson County – November 8
  • Manhattan – November 9
  • Topeka – November 28-29

Those who wish to testify need to follow guidelines.

Here’s a link to those rules about presenting testimony.


DeSoignie takes helm at Economic Lifelines for now

Ed DeSoignie, the retired executive of the Kansas City Heavy Constructors, has been named the interim director of Economic Lifelines, the statewide transportation coalition.  DeSoignie will take over for Tara Mays, who is leaving the organization to work for the Kansas Electric Cooperatives.

DeSoignie has headed the Heavy Constructors for 20 years and has been deeply involved in transportation issues, going back to the 1989 Comprehensive Transportation Program.


Kansas grows jobs above national average

Kansas may have finally turned things around on one measure of economic recovery.  For the first time in many years, the state’s 1.8 percent employment increase over the past year is outpacing the national average. That’s about 24,800 new jobs.

Kansas Secretary of Labor Lana Gordon said, “Job growth has exceeded the national average and the number of people receiving unemployment benefits is the lowest in ten years.  However, the labor force has shrunk over the past year by 1,500 workers and wages don’t appear to be growing.

The latest employment numbers are expected to be released later this week.


State revenues up but will they continue

Kansas revenues were $11 million over estimates for June. That’s less than the revenue above estimate growth of the past several months, which were likely driven up by new taxes, passed in 2017.  Those were a partial reversal of then-Governor Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts.

Also driving the increase may be the U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows states to tax Internet sales.

All that could change, depending on the election for governor and the legislature.  If state government becomes more conservative, the probability of a tax cut becomes more likely.


2018 legislative summary now available

Every year after the legislature adjourns, the Kansas Legislative Research Department publishes a summary of the laws that were passed.

The 2018 summary is now available online. The 250 page-plus report contains everything you ever wanted to know (including bill numbers).