On Feb. 4, the Tax Foundation presented testimony referred to as the Tax Modernization Report. This report was co-authored with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Back in December of 2019, these two organizations addressed tax modifications to a joint hearing between the Senate Committee on Assessment and Taxation and House Committee on Taxation.
The Tax Modernization Report is aimed at improving the Kansas state tax framework by recommending certain changes in the tax code.
The first of these proposed changes would be “Net Operating Losses Improvements” within the tax code. This would increase the carryforward year limit to 20 years or unlimited, from the current 10 years, and capping tax liability at 80%. Kansas would have a more competitive rate compared to other states.
Second would be to make the “Full Expensing on Capital Investment” deduction permanent in the Kansas tax code, which will expire by 2022 in accordance with the federal tax code. This possible change would enable greater investment in productivity for our Kansas businesses.
Third, is to decouple the state income tax code from the federal income tax code, which many other states have already done. This is important so that income tax filers would be able to either itemize or take a standard deduction. This would reduce the state tax burden for many Kansans.
The last proposed change would implement a remote sales tax. A remote sales tax would create a more level playing field for our brick and mortar businesses in Kansas to compete.
The Constitutional Amendment, otherwise referred to as “Value Them Both” was debated and voted on February 6, 2020 in the Kansas House of Representatives. We held a final action vote on February 7, 2020. The Constitutional Amendment would have established in the state constitution that abortion was not a right and the regulation of abortions is reserved to the people of Kansas through their elected legislators. I voted in favor of the Amendment.
The “Value Them Both” Amendment failed to gain the necessary 84 votes to meet the required two-third’s majority. The amendment failed late Friday afternoon with a vote of 80-43. There has been much discussion this session regarding the constitutional amendment since the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling in April 2019.
Governor’s Executive Reorganization Orders
On January 30, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly introduced three executive reorganization orders (ERO) to the Kansas Legislature, which will alter some agencies within the executive branch.
The first executive reorganization order, would rename the Kansas Department for Children and Families to the Kansas Department of Human Services. It would also abolish the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and transfers the jurisdiction of KDADs and the juvenile services programs, facilities, and institutions currently with the Department of Corrections. It does, however, not transfer the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility into the new Department of Human Services.
Second, is an executive reorganization order that transfers the functions of the state employee Health Benefits Plan and the State Worker Compensation Self-Insurance Fund from the Department of Health and Environment to the Division of the State Employee Health Benefits Plan within the Department of Administration.
The last is an executive order that establishes the Kansas Energy Office and transfers the powers, duties, and functions of the energy division from the Kansas Corporate Commission. These EROs must be approved by the Legislature in order to move forward.
Anytime that one would like to participate and listen to the developments of committee hearings or discussion on the House floor, one can tune in by listening to the audio footage at www.kslegislature.org.
As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me (785) 296-7672, follow on twitter at #waymaster4house, or email me at email@example.com. Also, if you happen to visit the statehouse, please let my office know.
It is a distinct honor to serve as your representative for the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I always appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas, as well.