Tax Study Released Today

A new study on the ramifications of lowering the state income tax was released today at a statehouse news conference. Bernie Koch, executive director of KEPC, and study author Dr. John Wong presented findings at the statehouse today. The study finds that, for every 1 job created, 1.63 are lost due to study released today finds that a lowering of the income tax would result in a loss of 1.63 jobs due to a reduction in overall state spending. The study was commissioned by the Kansas Economic Progress Council.

The press release is available here, and the ful text of the study is available here.

Dr. Wong’s slide deck is available here.

KEPC NEWS: Halfway mark, Medicaid expansion blocked by leadership, eco devo transparency, expensing, HPIP, broadband

In this issue …

  • Legislature begins five day break marking halfway point
  • Medicaid expansion approved by committee but blocked by leadership
  • Hearing held on economic development transparency
  • Expensing bill passes Senate 31-8
  • HPIP changes referred back to committee
  • Broadband issue is aired on House floor 2701


Legislature begins five day break marking halfway point

The 2018 Kansas Legislature is now on a five day break following a busy week on the House and Senate floors debating bills.  Legislation that has not passed one of the chambers by now is gone for the session, unless it comes from an “exempt” committee, such as Appropriations, Ways & Means, Federal and State Affairs, and Taxation.

There has been little activity on school finance with the exception of lawmakers reviewing the Kansas Supreme Court decision declaring the current law unconstitutional.

Although most lawmakers have gone home, some will be staying into Friday to hear from Professor Dr. Lori L. Taylor of Texas A&M, who’s be hired to conduct a cost study of K-12 education in Kansas.

Her report is due to the legislature by March 15.

Lawmakers will return next Wednesday, February 28 for a short week.  As of this writing the committee schedule has not been published.  Thursday of this week was officially the 33 day of the 2018 Kansas Legislature.


Medicaid expansion approved by committee but blocked by leadership

A Medicaid expansion bill introduced in 2017 was worked by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Monday and sent to the full Senate for debate.

However, Senate leadership did not allow the bill to come up before Thursday’s deadline for bills to be voted out of their house of origin.  Senate Bill 38 would expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), beginning in 2019.  It would add as many as 150,000 people who would have the ability to access the health care insurance.

The legislation would establish the KanCare Bridge to a Health Kansas Program.  To qualify, Kansans could not have an income exceeding 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

The bill requires:

  • Referral to workforce training programs
  • Creation of a Program Drug Rebate Fund
  • Creation of a Program Privilege Fee Fund
  • Creation of a health insurance coverage premium assistance program
  • Addressing federal denial and approval of financial participation
  • Submission of a waiver request to the federal government
  • Various program reports to the Legislature
  • Creation of a Program Working Group

There were about 140 proponents who submitted testimony in support, including business, community, economic development interests, health foundations, policy and advocacy organizations, hospitals, community support agencies, health care providers, community health centers, and private citizens.

They said the bill would provide better health care for more Kansans, bring businesses and jobs to communities, providing funding for hospitals that are struggling, and return millions of federal tax dollars back to Kansas.

Opponents included Americans for Prosperity, the Foundation for Government Accountability, the Kansas Policy Institute, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

They said the bill could not accurately predict Medicaid enrollment, that expansion would be costly, and expressed uncertainty that the Affordable Care Act will continue to exist and provide funding to the states.


Hearing held on economic development transparency

A hearing was held Monday in the House Taxation Committee on HB 2672, which requires public disclosure of certain economic development incentive data.  A joint legislative committee would be created to meet at least twice a year to study economic development incentives

Although it was not voted out of committee, the bill remains alive since it is in a committee which is exempt from legislative deadlines.

Representative Kristey Williams (R-Augusta) testified in support of the bill, saying it’s about transparency.  An internet portal would be created where people could access incentive data.  She said the bill would help lawmakers make better informed decisions on incentives and how to get the greatest return on investments.


Expensing bill passes Senate 31-8  

The bill that expands the expensing economic development incentive passed the Kansas Senate by a vote of 31 to 8 on Thursday.  Senate Bill 303 would allow certain individual income taxpayers to claim the expensing deduction now only available to C Corporations.

The tax incentive would be to reward businesses for the costs of placing certain tangible property (mainly machinery and equipment) and computer software into service in Kansas.


HPIP changes referred back to committee

A bill making changes how businesses use High Performance Incentive Program tax credits has been returned to the Senate Commerce Committee.  It had been on the Senate Calendar under General Orders for debate after passing out of the Commerce Committee earlier this week.

For many years, lawmakers and others have complained the program’s structure made it impossible to predict when the tax credits would be used, which could have a substantial impact on money available in the state general fund for state operations like education.

It’s unclear whether the bill (SB 334) will remain alive this session.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 430 was introduced on Wednesday.  It extends the HPIP tax credit carry forward from 16 to 25 years.


Broadband issue is aired on House floor

A bill on the issue of providing broadband to rural areas of Kansas passed the Kansas House 117 to 0 on Thursday.

HB 2701 creates the Statewide Broadband Expansion Task Force.

Its mission is to collaboratively evaluate the broadband needs of Kansas citizens, business, industries, institutions, and organizations.

It is also tasked with indentifying opportunities and potential funding sources to:

  • Expand broadband infrastructure and increase statewide access to broadband services
  • Remove barriers that might hinder deployment of broadband infrastructure or access to services
  • Enable the creation and deployment of new advanced communications technologies
  • Prioritize the expansion of broadband to unserved areas of the state first and then to underserved areas

The bill requires the Task Force to submit a report to the 2019 Legislature on its work and recommendations.


Bill tracking

Here’s our latest bill tracking on measures we think are of interest to our readers.  All of these bills are held over from 2017.  As new bills of interest are introduced, I will add them to the list.

You should be able to click on the bill number and be taken to the Kansas Legislature’s web site page for that particular bill.  You will be able to see all actions taken, read the bill, and read any supplemental notes (layman’s descriptions) and fiscal notes (how much does the bill cost the state) that have been prepared.

KEPC UPDATE: Halfway point, $137.7m from fed tax changes, Medicaid, incentives, HPIP, expensing, new money for schools, ed study author, bill tracking

In this issue … Halfway point of session is next week Changes in federal law equal $137.7 million for Kansas Medicaid expansion proponents try again Hearing scheduled on bill that requires transparency on incentives HPIP changes voted out of committee Expansion of expensing incentive moves forward How school districts would use new money Education study […]

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KEPC UPDATE: Session picks up speed, eco devo, transportation task force, rural jobs, rainy day funds threatened, bill tracking

In this issue … Legislative activity picking up speed Economic development hashed out in committees Transportation task force passes Senate Ad astra rural jobs act has hearing Rainy day funds thrashed out once again BILL TRACKING   Legislative activity picking up speed The pace is starting to pick up in Topeka at the Statehouse.  Doctor […]

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KEPC UPDATE: Gov. Colyer, revenue up in Jan, tax chair asks for help, STAR Bonds, transpo task force, rural broadband, labor market, oil & gas, county profiles available

In this issue … Colyer sworn in as governor Revenues up in January Tax Chairman asks for help on how to proceed Proposed changes to STAR Bonds Changes made to transportation task force bill Committee hears rural broadband presentation Kansas labor market report State of the Kansas oil and gas industry Kansas county profiles now […]

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KEPC UPDATE: New Gov on Weds, transpo task force, broadband access, school finance, internet tax lawsuit

In this issue … A new governor on Wednesday Bill on transportation task force gets a hearing Broadband access an emerging problem The plan on school finance Survey shows how districts would spend $600 million in new dollars South Dakota AG to discuss internet sales tax lawsuit KEPC BILL TRACKER   A new governor on […]

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KEPC UPDATE: Highway bill, no highway match in 2121, incentives audit, 18% budget cut for schools, constitution lawsuit, expensing

In this issue … Prep for a new highway bill could be in the works In the year 2121… no highway match House Tax Committee looks at incentives audit 18% budget cut needed to pay for school finance Is another lawsuit possible on Article 7 of the Kansas Constitution? State Chamber asks for “expensing” for […]

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KEPC UPDATE: Education fix runs dry in 2020, state and fed tax changes create uncertainty, property tax lid in House.

In this issue … Brownback education fix runs out of money by 2020 State income tax increase and federal tax cuts combine to create uncertainty Local property tax lid bill may be debated in House soon   Brownback education fix runs out of money by 2020 Governor Sam Brownback said in his State of the […]

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KEPC UPDATE: 2018 session begins with uncertanty; Kansans want Medicaid expansion

In this issue … 2018 legislative session begins with uncertainty Kansas Speaks Survey: Kansans want Medicaid Expansion   2018 legislative session begins with uncertainty The 2018 Kansas Legislature began today (Monday), facing a Kansas Supreme Court decision that could mean up to an additional $600 million needs to be spent on K-12 education. The Kansas […]

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KEPC UPDATE: Budget profile, job cuts, school finance, assessment & taxation

In this issue … Legislators review the latest state budget profile State agency job cuts are examined Special School Finance Committee to meet December 4 Assessment and Taxation meeting scheduled   Legislators review the latest state budget profile Along with a review of the new consensus revenue estimates, Chris Courtwright of the Kansas Legislative Research […]

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KEPC UPDATE: Federal tax reform could mean a “windfall” for Kansas

Kansas could get an unexpected boost in state revenues if federal tax reform is enacted. Few in state government understand or are discussing the possibility. If federal tax reform passes, Kansans could be paying less federal income tax, resulting in more income in their pockets.  However, that additional income would be subject to state income […]

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