Governor Kelly’s Budget Proposal
Governor Laura Kelly unveiled her budget to both the Senate Ways and Means and House Appropriations Committees on Thursday, January 16, 2020. The Governor’s budget contained many major points, the first being Medicaid Expansion. Governor Kelly’s budget allocates $17.5 million for Fiscal Year 2021 for partial expansion and then an increase to full expansion of $35 million for Fiscal Year 2022, although some estimates claim full expansion to cost $40 million or higher.
The second point are some tax changes. The budget would call for implementation of higher retail sales and compensating use taxes for digital property, totaling $22.4 million. There is also the creation of a marketplace facilitators sales tax, totaling $25 million in 2021. The budget also calls for the implementation of a food sales tax relief credit, which would apply to individuals earning $30,000 and families earning $40,000 or less, totaling $53.2 million in Fiscal Year 2021.
The third major component is a partial retention of the State Highway Fund transfer to State General Fund. The Governor’s budget calls for a transfer of $158.7 million in 2021, which Governor Kelly claims is the first step on planning to phase out of the fund transfer by 2022.
The Governor’s plan to reamortize KPERS over 25 years. The plan would save millions of dollars in upcoming fiscal years but ultimately would increase cost of the KPERS debt repayment by $4.4 billion.
Rural Opportunity Zones
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 the House Appropriations Committee was briefed by Secretary David Toland from the Kansas Department of Commerce on the Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) program. Secretary Toland informed the Committee about the history of the ROZ program, population trends in counties participating in ROZ, and an internal audit of the program of those benefitting from its financial incentives. According to the audit, Secretary Toland stated that the ROZ program had not been as successful in attracting people to rural Kansas. Of those participating in the program, many were already residents in Kansas and a vast majority, 84% of those surveyed, had decided to relocate to those counties without considering ROZ at all. There is approximately $1 million appropriated in the state budget for ROZ, all from the Economic Development Initiatives Fund.
Appropriations Committee: Agenda for the Week
The House Appropriations Committee will have a full week of briefings from agencies and departments while we wait for the budget committees to hold hearings on the submitted budget by the Governor.
The Secretary of Transportation, Julie Lorenz, will inform the committee on the future transportation needs across the state of Kansas. She will also explain the details of the newly proposed transportation plan, called Forward.
We will also be informed on the budget recommendations from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which I was chair of during the legislative break. Some of the recommendations include mental health, agriculture, and economic development.
We will have an update on the proposal from the Department of Administration on the future of the Docking building. There will be briefing on two tours that I participated in during the break. The first was a tour across the state regarding mental health. The second tour focused on children’s health and what strategies can Kansas implement, especially regarding infant health, nutrition, and early child development.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
My family and I wish all of you a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2020!
Rep. Troy L. Waymaster, 109th District, serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Born and raised in Russell, he continues today to be active in the farming operation of the family farm south of Bunker Hill today. Waymaster represents the Barton County communities of Albert, Olmitz, Galatia, Susank, Odin and Claflin.