I’d like to thank former Representatives Carl Holmes and Reid Petty for all they’ve done to help me prepare for this session. I’d also like to thank my family for all of their support and patience. Finally, thank you for your trust and support. I’m honored and humbled.
State of the State
It was a pleasure to have Senator Garrett Love sit next to me at the State of the State. The Governor shared his vision for the future of Kansas and a rough outline of how to get there. The devil, of course, is always in the details. The legislature is now in the process of figuring out the details. The Governor’s proposal would lower State General Fund spending from 6.3217 billion to 6.2405 billion in 2017
The State Highway Fund is scheduled to transfer $262.9 million to the State General Fund (SGF) in 2015. The Governor’s proposal requires an additional transfer of $150.7 million ($413.6 million total) and $100 million ($363.9 total) in 2016 & 2017. KDOT and the Governor have said that all expansion and modernization projects announced to date will be let as scheduled based upon their most current information and assumptions. After 2016 preservation projects will be completed based upon available State Highway Fund dollars. The shifting of this large amount of funds from KDOT concerns me.
The Governor wants to block grant School District funding in 2016 & 2017 based upon 2015 expenditures less increased KPERS Funding ($ 44.6 million statewide 2015) and a November 2014 adjustment for caseload escalator increases ($63 million). There would be no additional funds for future student population increases, health insurance increases, utility cost increases, salary increases, etc. etc. until 2018. This could be another case where local property taxes go up because of a lack of state funding. Also the Governor wants to scrap the existing funding formula. The existing formula recognizes the need for extra resources for rural schools with small class sizes as well as those with large immigrant and low income population. Since the drive to do away with the funding formula is to lower spending it may be bad for Liberal and Rural Kansas.
The Governor’s proposal would speed up the elimination of 50% of your itemized personal income tax deductions from 2017 to 2015, increase cigarette taxes by $1.50 a pack and liquor tax on drinks by 4%.