In his most recent update from the state house, Troy Waymaster of the 109th District which consists of Russell, Osborne, Smith, and part of Lincoln counties in Kansas highlighted a few areas discussed in this early part of the 2015 Legislative Session.
Within a statement regarding the Governor’s proposed budget and tax plan, Waymaster says Governor Brownback’s budget proposes that the current K-12 education funding formula be repealed by July 1, 2015. The current formula has been in place since the early 1990’s.
During his State of the State Address, Governor Brownback requested that the legislature comprehensively reform school finance. In order for the Legislature to have the appropriate time to do so, the governor’s budget would block grant approximately $3 billion dollars to school districts in FY 2016 and 2017, until a new school finance formula is developed.
Regarding the tax plan, the governor is proposing increases in consumption taxes on both tobacco and liquor. It is estimated that the cigarette tax would generate additional revenues of $80.8 million in FY 2016 and $76.2 million in FY 2017, and that the liquor enforcement tax would generate an additional $27.1 million in FY 2016 and $27.9 million in FY 2017. An additional major component of the governor’s tax plan addresses personal income tax rates.
On a related note, the General Government Budget Committee that Waymaster sits as chairman on, will review twenty-seven different agency budgets this legislative session for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Last week, the committee invited several divisions of government and agencies to present informational hearings and briefings to better understand the needs of the specific branch or agency.
The Judiciary branch, the Department of Administration, and the Department of Revenue provided briefings on the services they provide to Kansans, how they are moving their division or agency forward, and what challenges they are facing.
This week, the Kansas Department of Labor and the Board of Tax Appeals will meet with the committee.