In Topeka With Rep. Shannon Francis
Joe Denoyer - January 28, 2019 8:10 am
In Topeka with Rep. Francis
Transportation & Public Safety Budget Committee
My first two weeks as a committee chairman have been very rewarding. I met with Appropriations Chair Troy Waymaster and Interim Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Secretary Julie Lorenz on funding to preserve our highways and complete delayed projects on Highway 54 and across the state. The Kansas Highway Patrol and Adjutant Generals office provided information about their operations, successes and challenges. Kansas Wildfire Management: Evaluating the Adequacy of Kansas’ Wildfire Suppression System is a legislative report that my committee will be reviewing for practical improvements for the states response to wildfires. Other bills in my committee include: HB 2027 Reappropriating $6,000,000 from KDHE–division of health care finance to the Department of Corrections for evidence based juvenile programs and HB 2028 Allowing money in the evidence-based programs account managed by the Department of Corrections to be used for transportation to programs and electronic monitoring.
House Adopts Rules for the 2019-2020 Biennium
This week the Kansas House adopted the rules that will govern its operations for the next two years. The new rules include three changes that increase transparency and openness for the people of Kansas.
First, changes in the House rules require more transparency in bill introductions so the public can know who and, on whose behalf, proposed bills were introduced. Second, the rules have been redesigned to eliminate confusion when a bill is amended to remove its content and is replaced with another bill (aka a “gut and go”). These changes must be noted in the public record so anyone can see where, when, and how a bill was changed. We will continue our commitment to increase transparency by placing this information on the face of the bill itself and have directed legislative staff to move swiftly to make this possible. Third, we made changes that require at least one day’s notice before we vote on any bill. This will reduce “gotcha” moments and ensure time for citizens to weigh in with their legislators before the house takes up debate on an issue.
These rules were adopted with broad bipartisan support and majorities from both parties to support these improvements. All House Republicans supported the rules changes. You can view the 2019-2020 House Rules here. On Friday, the House passed the Joint Rules for the 2019-2020 biennium, SCR 1603, with a vote of 109-6.
Tax Foundation Testifies about Kansas Tax Climate
On Tuesday, Nicole Keading, Director of Federal and Special Projects for the Tax Foundation, presented to the House Taxation Committee. She gave an overview of Kansas tax rates, state business tax climate index, the Wayfair decision, and conformity. She noted that literature shows that some taxes burden economic growth more than others. Those are gross receipts taxes, corporate income taxes, and individual income taxes. In speaking about state tax policy, she divided her discussion into four large categories: tax rates; tax collections; tax burdens; and tax structure.
In looking at tax rates, Kansas is in the middle of rankings on individual income tax rate for 2018 with a 5.7% rate. Individual income tax rates for neighboring states are: Colorado (4.63%), Nebraska (6.84%), Missouri (5.9%), and Oklahoma (5.0%). Kansas ranks higher than other states on the corporate tax rate at 7.0%. Neighboring states: CO (4.63%), NE (7.81%), MO (6.25%), and OK (6.0%). On sales tax, Kansas has the 8th highest combined sales tax rate (state/local), with 8.68%. Neighboring state rates are: CO (7.52%), NE (6.89%, no tax on food), MO (8.08%), and OK (8.93%). The Tax Foundation also calculates the tax burden for states. Tax burden reflects the portion of income that goes to taxes. The Tax Foundation found that Kansas’ burden is 9.5, which is the 23rd highest tax burden in the nation.
Regarding the state’s business tax climate index, the Tax Foundation considers five areas of tax: Individual income; corporate income; sales and excise; property; and unemployment insurance. Overall, Kansas ranks 28th. Rankings on the tax components are: corporate (34th); individual (21st); sales (31st); unemployment insurance (15th); and property (20th).