Agriculture Natural Disaster Tax Abatements
I along with Representatives Amex, Dove, and Horn introduced HB 2517 in response to the EF-4 tornado that devastated certain parts of Douglas and Leavenworth counties in late May 2019. The legislation establishes tax abatements for agricultural buildings destroyed by natural disasters. It has been referred to House Tax Committee; tentative date for the hearing is Thursday, February 13, 2020.
Make Kansas Work-A Five–Point Plan to Foster The New Kansas Decade
In the Republican response to the governor’s State of the State, Speaker Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) unvelied his plan called Make Kansas Work. This plan features five bills that offer solutions for the challenges our state is facing:
- Innovative Funding for Rural Health Care
- Tax Relief for Seniors
- Savings program for first time homebuyers
- Workforce development: Tuition assistance for the most needed skilled workers
- Workplace development: Businesses partnering with the disabled community
The Rural Hospital Innovation Act creates a $30,000,000 fund using public dollars matched by private dollars to be granted to rural counties to help rural hospitals respond to changing markets, identify needed improvements and make the changes necessary to stay open and protect access to health care in rural areas of the state.
Tax relief for seniors: our tax relief plan for Kansas seniors would raise the exemption for senior citizens receiving Social Security from $75,000 in annual income to $100,000 in annual income so that Kansas seniors can continue to work and earn additional income if they wish to do so without having to pay higher taxes. Kansas’s seniors should not be penalized for continuing to work, farm, or run their own business just because they are drawing the Social Security benefits they’ve earned.
A first-time homebuyer savings account modeled on the state’s successful 529-education savings plan. The accounts allow for tax deductible deposits to help Kansans save for their first home, or for parents and grandparents to save on behalf a child who will put down roots in Kansas or even for communities to save to attract needed professionals such as doctors, dentists or teachers to the community.
The Kansas Promise Act is modeled on the successful Tennessee Promise Act but modified to enhance workforce development. Under the bill scholarships are offered to Kansas graduates who agree to complete a certificate or two-year program in one of the states high need areas for labor. The students must work part time or perform community service during their education and commit to remaining in Kansas and working for two years post-graduation.
The Kansas Targeted Employment Act, which would provide for integrated workshops where those with disabilities could work alongside those who receive public assistance but want to work. Private businesses that send work to an integrated employment center would receive a tax credit so long as the workers are paid at least minimum wage and offered benefits upon full time employment.
Important Issues This Session
- Value Them Both Amendment- On Wednesday, the Senate debated and acted upon SCR 1613, also known as Value Them Both. The Senate added an amendment to call a special election for the Constitutional Amendment to be held at the same time as the August primary election. This allows unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary election and vote on this issue.
On final action, the Senate voted 28 to 12 to advance the Constitutional Amendment to the House. SCR 1613 has been referred to the Committee of the Whole. The House debated the Constitutional Amendment on February 6th, with final action coming on Friday, February 7th. The vote was 80 to 43. The resolution failed to meet the 84 votes in favor required for passage. Leadership indicates the issue will be revisited.
- Medicaid Expansion- The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee has held hearings over the past two weeks on the Kelly/Denning Medicaid Expansion legislation, SB 252. Discussion and possible action were scheduled for late this week.