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Mark's Musings - 2017 Legislative Session
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This Week in the Legislature

My first session began Monday, January 9, in front of my wife, our son and daughter, and several family members including one of my sisters who was also elected to her first term. I was sworn in along with my 124 colleagues in the House. It is truly humbling to serve as a legislator, and I thank my constituents for that privilege.

Committees:


Committee meetings began the next day with the usual introductions and informational briefings. I serve on the following committees:
  • Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications
    Room 582-N, 9 – 10:30 a.m., Monday/Wednesday
  • Water and Environment
    Room 582-N, 9 – 10:30 a.m., Tuesday/Thursday
  • Transportation
    Room 582-N, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday
  • Education
    Room 546-S, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday
Note that some committee rooms now have audio streaming so you can listen to the briefings and discussion online. To find which committee hearings will be streamed, go to www.kslegislature.org, under the “Committees” tab at the top select “Hearings” then select the date. If a committee room has streaming capability it will be identified with a small yellow speaker icon. The only one of my committee rooms that can stream is 582-N. Listen in and I welcome your feedback.
 

Governor’s State of the State Address:


Governor Brownback gave his State of the State address Tuesday evening, and presented his thoughts on a variety of budget priorities to the House and Senate members. He continues to believe the tax plan of 2012 has been effective in growing the state. I am not convinced it has produced the promised results. For instance, our per capita debt is the highest among our neighbors. I believe we can create a better growth environment in Kansas, but it will take time. No silver bullets exist, only hard work and patience.

Governor’s Budget Report::


On Wednesday Shawn Sullivan, Director of the Budget, released the governor’s budget report.
It contained proposals to close the projected $340 million shortfall for fiscal year 2017 (ending on June 30) as well as proposals to deal with a $580 million projected shortfall in fiscal year 2018. 
 
Highlights:
FY 2017 (ending June 30):
  • Liquidate long-term investment fund designed to offset the unclaimed property fund.  Direct transfer of $45 million in interest earnings to State General Fund (SGF), then transfer the principal of $317 million to SGF and repay over seven years.
  • Reduce payments into KPERS by $86 million.
 
FY 2018 and 2019:
  • Securitize (sell off) the revenue stream from the tobacco master settlement in order to receive upfront payments of $265 million in both FY 2018 and 2019.
  • Continue reduced payments to KPERS at the 2016 rate rather than staying the course as statutorily required.  This generates SGF savings of $140 million in 2018 and $199 million in 2019 but extends the re-amortization of KPERS by ten years and therefore extends the timeline before KPERS is fully funded. 
  • Continue to divert all sales tax revenue from KDOT to SGF.  Produces $288 million for the SGF in 2018 and $293 million in 2019.
  • Budget for efficiencies in K-12 school operation totaling $47 million in 2018 and $89 million in 2019.  This is based upon recommendations contained in the efficiency study commissioned by the legislature in 2015.  Legislative committees have already begun consideration of this proposal to determine if the proposals are feasible and whether the projected savings are attainable.
 
Governor’s Tax Proposal:
  • Exclude rents and royalties from the business income tax exemption granted to small business entities in 2012.
  • Freeze the bottom income tax rate at 2.7%
  • Increase annual report filing fee for businesses from $40 to $200
  • Increase tax on cigarettes $1 per pack
  • Increase tax on other tobacco products from 10% to 20%
  • Increase liquor enforcement tax from 8% to 16%

Cumulatively, these proposals would produce $179 million in 2018 and $199 million in 2019
 
The solutions the governor proposes have been characterized as very unpalatable by many observers.  But more than anything that reflects the dire fiscal circumstances the state currently faces.  There is room for disagreement over how we got to this point and why. However, there is no controversy over the stark fact that the state is now broke, and that the practice of cobbling together annual budgets with unreliable and one-time funding sources cannot continue.
 
In the short run, our list of potential solutions is short and it will be a process of ranking a variety of undesirable options to find the best possible approach.  Whatever the legislature settles on for a solution, it too is likely to be quite unpalatable.  Longer term, the people of Kansas are asking for and deserve a long-term structural solution to the current fiscal imbalance.  Finding that solution will require resolve, persistence, and cooperation on the part of all legislators.

Pages:


Please call my office if you have a child or young friend that would like to serve as a page for me. Each legislator has a limited number of days available for pages. The Page Office requests pages be at least 12 years old.
 

Quote of the Day:


To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” -  Reba McEntire
 

Representative Mark Schreiber
Visit my website at http://www.schreiberforkansas.com/
 
Home
1722 Yucca Lane
Emporia, KS   66801
620-342-6954
Email: mschreiber82@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
mark@schreiberforkansas.com  
 

Communities
of the 60th District

 

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Copyright © 2017 Mark Schreiber for Kansas House, All rights reserved.


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