Sen. Taylor represents the 33rd District, which includes the following counties:
Barton Edwards, Kiowa, Lane, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush, Scott, Stafford. and parts of Hodgeman and Rice Counties
Contact Sen. Taylor
In Topeka (Jan-May):
300 SW 10th, Room 441-East
Topeka, KS 66612
At home in Stafford:
114 N. Union
Stafford, KS 67578
Thanks to the Great Bend and Pratt papers for covering my 2019 legislative survey. I’ve received hundreds of responses and look forward to sharing the results with you! There’s still time to provide your input and share with friends and neighbors.
On the Home Front
Thanks to those who came out for my legislative coffee with Rep. Troy Waymaster. Please mark your calendars for the following opportunities: March 9, 10 am, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce offices, 1125 Williams.
Edwards County Economic Development Director, Linette Miller, invited me to attend the groundbreaking for their housing project on a chilly Feb. 8th morning. While the project has been full steam ahead since the September submission of the grant, it has been 5 years in the making.
This project, which will bring two new 3 bedroom, 2 bath duplexes (4 units) to town, involved many partners to bring it to fruition. Clyde and Cindy Schmidt, owners of Gunsmoke KC Investors, LLC, and A-1 Concrete and Construction are the contractors from nearby Spearville. They are anxious to help rural communities grow. Linette Miller wrote the grant, which provides $400,000 towards this project. The City of Kinsley approved the plan and the grant. Charles and Clara Schmitt are owners of an ideal property for the homes and decided to donate it to the project. Finally, the Kansas legislature allocates the funds that makes these grants available for eligible communities. The Economic Development Board members are pleased to be able to promote moderate income living available in their community. The project is an inspiration to all communities to work together and use available resources to improve quality of life and their capacity for growth. I thank them for letting me be a part of the celebration.
Around the Capitol
Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, Lawton Nuss, delivered his annual State of the Judiciary address. You can review the text here.
One little known fact he mentioned that you might not have taken the time to compute – Abraham Lincoln became president just five weeks after Kansas became a state!
From my previous newsletters, you may already know that Kansas judicial employees are the lowest paid in the entire country. Justice Nuss noted that when a federal magistrate judge position recently opened up (at 50% higher pay than KS district court judges), 12% of the district judges in the state applied for that one position…
On the Senate Floor
SB 9 passed unanimously to transfer $115 million from the State General Fund to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) for FY 2019 (this fiscal year). The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration. This is a necessary down payment on our commitments to shore up stability for the pension system.
Decoupling state and federal tax returns
SB 22 is the “decoupling” (and other much more complicated tax policy changes) bill I mentioned in my last newsletter:
It would provide around $400 million in corporate and individual tax cuts.
On the business side, beginning in tax year 2017, Kansas would not tax deferred foreign income.
The bill would require certain deductions used in determining federal adjusted gross income for repatriated income be added back for Kansas income tax purposes prior to figuring Kansas adjusted gross income. In addition, global intangible low taxed income (GILTI) would not be subject to Kansas income tax.
It passed 26-14, I voted NO. With a revenue report just a few days ago that showed Kansas revenues missed their estimates (on which the budget is based) by $49 million in just one month, we simply cannot afford the uncertainty this bill would create.
Explanation of Vote: I vote “no” for SB 22. There are definitely things in the bill that makes it an attractive vote. However, there is one overriding objection I have. That is the sequence and timing of the tax cut. The state has mandated obligations that have not yet been addressed. We must prioritize those mandates, such as school finance, before making other budgetary adjustments. It is my hope that the legislature can addresses its mandated responsibilities, then address tax cuts. – SENATOR MARY JO TAYLOR
Agriculture & Natural Resources
I’m looking forward to this week’s hearing on the Cattle Trace pilot project and will update you in my next newsletter.
Public health and welfare
The committee received testimony this week from a number of departments:
Medicaid Inspector General
Kansas Mental Health Coalition
Kansas Health Institute
Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas
Department for Aging and Disability Services
We held a hearing on SB 16 which would specify in statute that school districts are to use at-risk education funds only on evidence-based learning programs, the personnel needed to operate such programs and services contracted by the school district to provide such programs.
Members also learned more about concurrent enrollment issues from the Department of Education, Board of Regents and the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees.
In addition, the committee learned more about the Technical Authority Board, as well as the Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) program.
It is an honor and privilege to serve you in Topeka.
At your service,
Sen. Mary Jo Taylor
Serving West Central Kansas
Sen. Mary Jo Taylor serves West Central Kansas. Taylor urges her constituents to complete and share her online survey in order to help her to understand the voting public’s priorities as the 2019 session gets underway. That online survey can be found here.