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Mark's Musings - 2018 Legislative Session
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April 2, 2018 - Money, Money, Money


How much money is there? Where does the money come from? And where does it actually go?
 
Most people have seen a multitude of numbers associated with our state’s revenues and spending, but can’t form a reasonable picture of the budget.
 
Today, I’ll try to lend some clarity to what often is seen as a black hole. I use information provided by the Kansas Legislative Research Department.

How Much Money: Beating the Estimates … So Far

The legislature prepares the annual budget based on available revenues, which are estimated during April and November each year. Since the start of this fiscal year (July 1, 2017), actual revenues have exceeded estimates by about $270 million or 6.4 percent.
 
It’s nice to exceed estimates! But the monthly string of beating the odds may not continue because of the federal tax reform legislation passed in December.
 

Where the Money Comes From: The State General Fund (SGF)


The SGF is a fund for revenues not earmarked for special purposes, and is primarily composed of:
  • Income taxes (from individuals, corporations and financial institutions).
  • Excise taxes (sales taxes, cigarette and liquor taxes, and oil and gas severance).
  • Insurance premium taxes.
  • Interest.
  • Transfers and receipts.
  • Miscellaneous.
Approved expenditures from the SGF are approximately $6.6 billion in 2018 and again in 2019. The 2019 budget will be tweaked over the next few weeks which will incorporate the school finance bill.
 
But you may have seen a state budget that totals closer to $16 billion. That larger number is for all funds received by the state, including fees or transfers from the federal government.
 
The legislature does not control funds sent to us by the feds, so we concentrate on the SGF to fund state government.
 

Where the Money Goes: Slicing the Budget Pie

Our state government is composed of five basic functions, each of which gets a slice of the budget pie.
 
Education
This function encompasses K-12 public schools, higher education (universities, community colleges and technical colleges), the Kansas Historical Society, School for the Blind, School for the Deaf and State Library. Education comprises 63 percent of annual SGF expenditures — by far the biggest slice of the budget.
 
Human Services
Human Services supports state hospitals in Parsons, Topeka, Larned and Osawatomie, plus the:
  • Department of Aging and Disability.
  • Department of Children and Families.
  • Department of Health and Environment – Health and Health Care Finance.
  • Department of Labor.
  • Kansas Guardianship Program.
  • Commission on Veterans’ Affairs Office and Soldiers’/Veterans’ Homes.
Human Services uses the second-most state funds — approximately 26 percent. KanCare (the state’s Medicaid program) and foster care programs fall under this function.
 
Public Safety
This function includes funding for the Adjutant General’s Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Highway Patrol and the Emergency Medical Services Board. It also funds our eight adult prisons and a juvenile corrections complex. Public Safety gets 6 percent of the SGF.
 
General Government
This function receives SGF funding for areas such as the Attorney General and Governor’s offices, the Legislature, the Judicial Branch, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Administration. It comprises 4.9 percent of the state’s budget.
 
Agriculture/Natural Resources
This function requires the least amount of SGF dollars — just 0.2 percent — for the Department of Agriculture, the environment side of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas State Fair and the Kansas Water Office.
If you’ve been doing the math, you now know that Education and Human Services expenditures use 89 percent of SGF funds — almost $9 out of every $10.
 


Some who want to slash state government don’t realize that so much of the budget is contained in these two areas or that trimming those costs is tricky at best. Cut Human Services, and risk limiting access to federal funds that help pay for lifeline services for our most vulnerable neighbors, including foster children, the poor and the elderly. Cut education, and constitutional questions arise. The state has been in lawsuits for more than a decade because the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that K-12 education funding falls short of the constitutional mandate.  
 
The legislature received important education-funding data March 16 when Dr. Lori Taylor, a Texas A&M professor and noted expert, provided an updated estimate for K-12 funding that will meet our constitutional responsibility. That report, available here estimates that Kansas should add as much as $2 billion in additional funding to meet education standards.
 
Notably, the report calculates the cost of attaining specific standards set by the legislature and the Department of Education, including a 95 percent high school graduation rate. Many see this as unattainable; no state in the country has a graduation rate that high. If the standards are revised, the costs to meet them also will decrease.
 
It was nice to hear Dr. Taylor say that Kansas schools overall are efficient users of the money they receive from the state. Efficiency is wonderful, but we still must pay our teachers appropriately so we can keep experienced instructors and recruit new ones.
 
The House K-12 Budget Committee has passed to the full House for consideration HB 2445. Among other items, this bill adds $44.4 million for Special Education funding. Currently, the State is required by statute to pay 92% of excess special education costs. Currently, we only fund about 78%. The bill also raises the base state aid per pupil funding from $4,170 in 2018-2019 school year to $4,718 in the 2022-23 school year. The bill and an explanation can be found at http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/hb2445/. The bill is planned for floor debate on Monday, April 2.

Recent House Action

March 13, the House honored the Kansas Small Business Development Center of the Year award winners. Emporia’s honoree is Radius Brewing Company, owned by Justin Bays, Jeremy Johns and Chad Swift. Congratulations, guys!
 
March 22, we honored the seven Kansas Master Teachers of the Year, including Emporia High School science teacher Matt Irby. Congratulations, Matt! Thanks to Emporia State University for leading this recognition program for the past 64 years.
 
The House passed HB 2773, Kansas Safe and Secure Schools Act. The bill provides a $5 million matching grant fund from which school districts can apply for reimbursement of some of the costs to make their school buildings safer for students, teachers and staff. The Department of Education will develop standards for school districts to use when making safety improvements. I thought this was a good first step. The bill is now in the Senate.
 
The House recently considered SB 331, a bill that would make Little Jerusalem Badlands in Logan County and the Flint Hills Trail that runs through north Lyon County and five other counties into new state parks. The bill passed final action in the House 99 – 24. I voted yes. It is now in a conference committee.
 
House Bill 2602, which passed out of committee favorably, creates a task force to investigate and evaluate effective teaching practices for children with dyslexia, a condition that makes reading a struggle for 20 percent of students nationally. Making sure kids learn to read at grade level before fourth grade is critical to their future success. The bill passed the Senate, and is now in a conference committee.
 
One-year funding of $535,000 for the ESU Nursing program was added to both the House and Senate appropriations bills. Private funding no longer is available, so this appropriation is crucial to the program’s future growth. Our nursing program is excellent and its graduates are in high demand. Stay tuned for updates.
 
A group of House members, including me, had discussions with broadband providers across the state. Rick Tidwell, CEO of ValuNet Fiber, most recently outlined challenges involved with expanding broadband into underserved and unserved areas. We’ll take that information into account as we identify key initiatives to be placed into legislation next year.
 
During a recent briefing, House members learned that our state’s population is aging rapidly. In 2015, three counties had a population in which more than 30 percent of residents were 65 or older. By 2025, 32 counties will be in that category! Unquestionably, an aging population will affect state revenues and health care spending. 
 
You can stay up to date about all the House action via video live-stream at Kansas Legislature Livestream Channel.
 

Dates and Deadlines


There was a good crowd for the March 10 Legislative Dialogue at Presbyterian Manor. It was a wide-ranging discussion that revealed significant interest in the education-funding lawsuit. Stay tuned for the date and location of the final 2018 dialogue, which will take place after the legislature adjourns.
 
Events and deadlines already on the calendar include:
  • April 6 – First adjournment.
  • April 26 – Veto session begins.
  • April 30 – Legal briefs in support of the new K-12 funding formula are due to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Contact Me

If you have questions or want to share your views about the budget or other issues before the legislature, please email, text or call me. And if you are visiting the Capitol, please stop by to say hello.
 
Representative Mark Schreiber
Visit my website at http://www.schreiberforkansas.com/
 
Home
1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, KS   66801
Home: 620-342-6954
Cell: 785-230-0897
Email: markschreiber60@gmail.com
 
 
Legislative Office
Room 167-W, State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS   66612
Phone: 785-296-2721
Email: mark.schreiber@house.ks.gov

 Paid for by Mark Schreiber for Kansas House – Cindy Lore, Treasurer
 

Contact Mark

 

StateHouse Office

Room 167-W
300 SW 10th Street,
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-296-2721
Mark.Schreiber@house.ks.gov

Home

1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, Kansas 66801
Phone: 620-342-6954
markschreiber60@gmail.com
 

Communities of
the 60th District

 
 

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Copyright © 2018 Mark Schreiber for Kansas House, All rights reserved.


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