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My Two Cents of Common Sense
"Northwest Kansas holds some truly inspiring scenery, contains a wealth of Old West history, possesses some of the finest educational institutions, promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, and is home to some of the most hard-working, genuine people I've ever met!"    ~ Adam Smith
1970 RD 3 Weskan, KS 67762
785-821-2568 (Cell)
300 SW 10th St, Suite 512N Topeka, KS  66612
785-296-0715 (Office)
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SB 22 Tax Bill passes House
Kansas Senate and House have passed legislation to decouple Kansas Tax code from the federal tax code.
Scandal in the Statehouse!
State Representative Adam Smith implicated in voting analysis number scheme! Read more about it...
Capitol Connection
Your resource for both live and archived committee room and chamber proceedings in the Kansas Statehouse!
Kansas State Library
Did you know our state library has Talking Books available for download to Kansans with visual or physical impairments? Learn more about how to access these resources!
It was a privilege to welcome the Phi Theta Kappa honor society from Colby Community College to the Capitol! Isabel Rosales, Brittany Alexander, Emma Klein, and Jessica Gamez-Ramos.
 
Jessica Gamez-Ramos was selected to represent Kansas as the New Century Workforce Pathways Scholar. Out of over 2000 applicants, only 52 students throughout the United States and Canada receive this prestigious award!

To learn more about the PTK Academic Achievement Scholarship and Leadership Program, visit their website at https://www.ptk.org
Senate Bill 22 Passes House

The Kansas House of Representatives has passed SB 22, the tax bill, by a vote of 76-43. The bill is widely speculated to receive Governor Kelly's first veto.

But the bill's legislative path isn't quite finished, yet. Since amendments were made to the bill in the House, it must go back to the Senate to concur with those amendments. If they do not concur, a special committee is appointed called a conference committee which typically consists of the chair, vice chair, and ranking member of the tax committees in the House and the Senate. Those six people will hold a meeting to negotiate a proposal to put before both chambers. This process continues until the bill either passes both chambers or fails altogether.

I've received quite a few emails regarding this bill, both in favor and opposed. But do we really have a good idea of what it does... or doesn't... do?

You may have heard “It’s a tax hike on Kansans” or “It’s just a tax cut for the wealthy”, depending on which rhetoric comes across your path. What is the truth?

In my opinion, if I can’t explain something in a simple way, I don’t understand it well enough. That’s why I love a good analogy – explain a complicated issue with something to which your audience can easily relate.

While it's not a perfect analogy, here's my attempt at that.

Let's say you're working as a waiter/waitress at a local restaurant. You're working hard to make ends meet, but your car needs new tires, your refrigerator quit last night, your utility bill keeps going up, and you're still trying to pay that hospital bill from last summer.

Then one night, a large business in town brings its board members in for dinner. They are seated in your area and you do your absolute best. When the bill is ready, the owner of the business thanks you for your excellent service and tells you he would like to add a $100 tip. However, once they leave and you go to process the receipt, you realize he actually wrote $1,000 on the tip line by mistake!

Do you run it for $100 or $1,000?

You could certainly use the money! And this is a BIG business - they could easily write it off as an expense. But what will the owner think? He was obviously impressed with your service, and may bring the group back again next month and ask for you! He may recommend you to some friends or other groups! That could be a lot of future tips in your pocket! You've got $1,000 right now... but if you take that he may never come back again. He may even complain to your boss... you could lose your job!

What do you do?

This tax bill is very similar. As a result of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017, the state was set to receive a wave of new dollars, mostly from businesses in the form of specific foreign source income and limits on business interest deductions. This was never intended by Kansas and happened as an indirect result of the federal tax changes. Rolling conformity states all over the nation are having to deal with this dilemma.

Arguments were made on the floor against this bill because Kansas needs money. I would agree we are not in great financial shape. Reasons were stated that these "huge corporations" like Cargill and Spirit Aerosystems can afford it, so why are we giving them a break? Well, as other states address this issue and take these new taxes off the table, those states could begin looking a lot more attractive to those "huge corporations" when it comes time to expand, add jobs, and contribute to the economy and tax base.

The bottom line is that we do need new tires (state highways & bridges), a new refrigerator (prisons & correction system), payment of that utility bill (K12 education), and keep making payments on that hospital bill (KPERS)... among other things. But does that justify taking the unintentional $1000?

Taking the cash now would be the easy way out, but it could cost us in the long run.
Scandal in the Statehouse!

I have a confession to make.

First of all, I have been a registered Republican since I was old enough to vote. I serve as chair of the Wallace County Republican Precinct Committee and have spent over 10 years on the committee. I have served in several elected capacities as a Republican.

But the numbers do not lie.

In analyzing the voting that took place in the past two weeks in the House of Representatives, the results cannot be denied - I voted the same as the Democratic party 88% of the time.

That's right, nearly 9 times out of 10 my vote aligned with a vast majority, if not entirely all, of the members of the Democratic party.

There... I said it... I admit it...

You may someday even see a nasty campaign postcard with this information, and a picture of me along with pictures of Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and maybe even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Voting records are public information, and it is a fact I cannot deny. It is the truth.

But it is not the whole truth.

Here's the whole truth...

Yes, I did vote that way... but so did a vast majority, if not entirely all, of the Republican party!

What?!?!

Contrary to popular belief, most legislation is not nearly as contentious as you may think. The stories that get the big news coverage ARE the big issues that usually are rather controversial and partisan. You hardly ever read about that bill to include KBI agents to the deferred retirement option program and extend the sunset date that passed unanimously. Or that bill authorizing the purchase of cybersecurity insurance for the state board of education that passed unanimously.

In fact, of the 50 bills that the House of Representatives considered in the past two weeks, 26 of those passed unanimously! Not a single "No" vote out of 125 members... Republicans and Democrats.

The legislature puts a lot of hard work into the committee process, and it shows in most of the legislation that comes to the floor. In committee, we will debate and amend and debate and amend until the final product is typically a pretty good compromise. That shows when 52% of bills are passed unanimously in the chamber.

But it doesn't stop there.  Out of those 50 bills the past two weeks, an additional 18 passed with only one or a handful of members voting against the measure. It's usually different opponents for different reasons - voting against a measure because there's one portion of the language they don't agree with. They may favor the overall bill, but once they see it will easily pass, they will vote "no" to make their token opposition known.

And that, my friends, is the 44 out of 50... or 88%... that I have voted with the Democrats. You could say that about nearly all of the Republicans, and you could also state that 88% of the time any one Democrat voted with the Republican party.

Facts can easily be spun to suit a slanted message if so desired, which is exactly what happens on most of those nasty campaign postcards. The truth is often much less scandalous than the headlines portray.

So as the late great Paul Harvey would say with a mischievous tone, "That... is the RRRREST of the story!"
Capitol Connection

Your source for important audio and video links (live and archived) to committee meetings and chamber sessions inside the Kansas Capitol
 
Video Channel (Live and Archived)
House of Representative and Senate Chamber Proceedings

Audio Channel (Live)
House of Representatives Chamber
Senate Chamber

Capitol Committee Rooms (Live and Archived)
Calendar & Committee Schedule
 
Kansas Talking Books Week is March 4-8

The Kansas Talking Books program, a division of the State Library of Kansas, provides library materials in a specialized format to any Kansas resident with a visual or physical impairment that makes reading difficult. This no-charge service includes fiction and nonfiction in braille or audio format, magazines in braille or audio, plus descriptive videos. A simple application is available at https://kslib.info/talking-books. A signature from a certifying authority such as a medical doctor, optometrist, or librarian is needed.

If you or someone you know would like information, please visit the Kansas Talking Books website https://kslib.info/talking-books or call 620-341-6280 or 1-800-362-0699.
I strive to create and maintain constituent relationships through good communication. Two-way communication is essential to my effectiveness as a legislator in promoting successful solutions for Northwest Kansas! Please consider subscribing to my contact list or send me an email and I will add you.
Copyright © 2019 Smith For Kansas, All rights reserved.


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