House to debate major tax bill
Debate is scheduled for Monday on a sweeping change in Kansas tax policy that is being pushed by House Republican leaders.
The proposal would reduce state income tax rates, eliminate taxes on nonwage business income and limit growth in state budget revenue to no more than two percent per year.
It would also decrease the Earned Income Tax Credit and increase the standard deduction for heads of household.
House Republican leaders say the proposal will spur economic development.
But revenue estimates show that the plan would hike tax rates for the lowest income earners in Kansas. And the GOP plan has also been criticized for delaying fund transfers to the highway program.
Democrats and some Republicans have also said the two percent cap on budget growth is unrealistic because of increasing funding needs after years of budget cuts that were made during the recession.
Voucher type bill to receive vote
A bill that would set up a type of voucher system for private and parochial schools will probably be voted on this week in the House Education Budget Committee.
State Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Courtland, said his measure, House Bill 2767, would give parents more choices in finding schools that best fit the educational needs of their children.
It was supported in committee by Bob Voboril, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wichita.
“Tax dollars already follow children to religious day care centers, religious preschools, religious colleges, religious hospitals, religious charitable organizations and religious nursing homes, following a principle that assistance is given to those who need it most, not according to whether the institution is owned by the government,” Voboril said.
The measure is opposed by the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, the Kansas Association of School Boards and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
“You are asking taxpayers to subsidize religious schools,” said Vickie Sandell Stangl of the Great Plains chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The bill would give taxpayers a 90 percent tax credit for contributions made to an organization that would provide scholarships for students to attend private or parochial schools. The measure would be limited to providing scholarships to students from low-income families who attend school in a group of 18 school districts that have a large number of at-risk students.
Senior hunting/fishing license headed to Senate
A Senate committee has approved legislation that would remove the hunting and fishing license exemptions for persons 65-years-old and older.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says it needs to generate some revenue to take care of upkeep at the parks.
Under the proposal, seniors would have two options. They could buy a lifetime combination senior hunting and fishing license, which is proposed to be $40. The second option would allow seniors to purchase an annual hunting, fishing or combination license at half-price. Currently, that would be $9 each for a hunting or fishing license, or $18 for a combination license.
Quote of the week
“Quiet family homes have become weekend party palaces.”
— Arly Allen with the Centennial Neighborhood Association to the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee in testimony on Senate Bill 400, which would help the city of Lawrence enforce its ordinance regulating how many unrelated people can live in a single-family home.
• 11 a.m. Monday — Final action in House on House Bill 2353, allowing concealed carry in public buildings. Post-secondary schools, hospitals and nursing homes are exempt from the measure.
• 3:30 p.m. Monday — Hearing before House Education Budget Committee on House Bill 2773, authorizing expenditure of unencumbered balances held by school districts; reducing local option budget authority, room 159-South, Capitol.
• 10 a.m. Tuesday — Kansas State Board of Education monthly meeting, 120 SE 10th.
• 1:30 p.m. Wednesday — Kansas Board of Regents monthly meeting, Curtis State Office Building, Suite 520.
• 9 a.m. Thursday — Kansas Board of Regents monthly meeting, Curtis State Office Building, Suite 520.
• 1:30 p.m. Thursday — Informational hearing on death penalty before House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, room 144-South, Capitol.
• 1:30 p.m. Thursday — Hearing on Senate Resolution 1831, requesting Gov. Sam Brownback delay the implementation of KanCare, room 546-South, Capitol.