Updates and Alerts
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: WEEK ONE – Jan. 13-17
With the start of the state legislative session in Topeka, Governor Laura Kelly presented her State of the State Address, recounting progress of the past year and laying out her priorities for 2020. Highlights of the Governor’s policy priorities include rebuilding the state’s fiscal stability, aligning workforce-centered education, expanding Medicaid eligibility, passing a new transportation program, bolstering the social service safety net, and beginning comprehensive tax reform and criminal justice reform. The Governor also noted the “incredibly fragile” state of the aviation and agricultural industries, most recently evidenced by the lay-off of thousands of Wichita workers related to the Boeing 737 Max.
Watch the Republican response to Governor Kelly’s Address, given by Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, here.
Kansas Budget Director Larry Campbell also presented Governor Kelly’s proposed current FY2020 state budget revisions (the fiscal year runs July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020) and proposed state budget for upcoming FY2021 (begins July 1, 2020) to a joint meeting of Kansas House/Senate budget committees. The 27-slide overview presentation is here.
Budget Director Campbell noted that, while state revenues have been growing, worries include aviation layoffs, agricultural sector challenges, slower sales tax growth, and general global uncertainty. He said goals of the proposed budget include structural balance (whereby estimated revenues exceed expenditures), statutorily adequate reserves, debt reduction, continuing to move away from KDOT funds transfers, sustainability of KPERS payments, and the start of tax reform. Highlights of the Governor’s budget proposal include:
- Using excess reserves in current FY2020 to pay off more than $600 million in debt early
- Continuing to reduce reliance on transportation funds for other programs, with the goal of ending diversions after FY2022
- Reamortizing KPERS over 25 years, freeing up funds and keeping KPERS payments more sustainable but costing the state more in interest (lawmakers rejected reamortization last session)
- Implementing tax reforms focused on sales tax on food for low-income Kansans and property tax relief through $54 million in revenue-sharing with local governments
- Taxing internet sales of digital property (like e-books and online games) and requiring online marketplace facilitators (like Etsy) to collect sales tax
- Reorganizing social service agencies and making additional investments in child welfare, mental health, and Medicaid expansion
- Maintaining promised K-12 education funding (with additional aid toward special ed and mental health) and additional investments in higher ed (including career & technical ed and need-based aid)
- Making additional investments in public safety
Over the course of the session, lawmakers will likely allow some of these budget proposals to stand, enhance some, tweak some, and wholesale change or reject others.
Committees spent most of their first week receiving briefings and reviewing the status of bills held over from last session.
Coming up in week two, Jan. 20-24? Lawmakers will get down to business on a number of issues, including tax policy, discussion of a new transportation program, and banking. Of particular note, a Senate Committee will begin hearings on a bipartisan plan to expand income-based Medicaid eligibility (read the bill here). Proponents of the idea will appear at 9:30am on Jan. 23-24 of this week, while opponents will appear before the committee on Jan. 27-28. Listen to the committee hearings here.
JO CO CHAMBERS’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE SERIES COMING UP!
The Lenexa Chamber is partnering with other area local chambers on a series of events throughout the state legislative session to enhance communication and interaction between the business community and our state legislative delegation.
These events – two breakfasts and two lunches – feature area legislators on hand to discuss issues, answer questions, and provide the latest updates (and it’s also a great opportunity to network with members from other chambers!) A list of legislators scheduled to appear at each event, subject to change without notice, will be announced soon. For dates, cost, and registration information, please click here.
CHAMBER BOARD APPROVES 2020 STATE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
The Lenexa Chamber Board of Directors has approved a legislative platform to guide our advocacy in the upcoming 2020 state legislative session. The platform addresses a spectrum of issues important to the business community including tax policy, key business costs and regulations, K-12 and higher education, health care, transportation, economic development, and others.
For a summary of the platform, please click here.
Questions or feedback? Call Ashley Sherard, Vice President and Director of Legislative Affairs, at 913-888-1414 or email email@example.com.