Taxes, Cuts, and Revenue

Feb 8, 2017 by

Post Highlights

  • Senate unveils two-pronged strategy to restore a portion of state revenue.
  • Tax bill SB 147 does not solve shortfall and fails to address long-term problems.
  • SB 27 is a bill to cut funding to K-12 and Regents institutions to grab another chunk of revenue to fill the Governor’s revenue hole.
  • Full senate to convene on Thursday to debate both bills.
  • Rise Up Kansas plan gets committee hearing today.
  • KNEA joined 13 proponents from various organizations to support the bill.
  • 5 groups opposed the bill including Americans for Prosperity, Kansas Policy Institute and Kansas Chamber of Commerce among others.

 

The Senate has crafted a two-pronged plan, approved by Senate President Susan Wagle, that includes a tax bill which seeks to increase revenue (SB 147) and a bill which cuts funding to K-12 education and higher ed Regents institutions (SB 27).

The tax bill (SB 147) would raise approximately $280 million in new revenue. Unfortunately, the Brownback-created revenue hole is so deep, this plan is far short of what is needed to reverse the tax cuts of 2012 and 2013. Additionally, SB 147 is not a comprehensive, long-term solution.

The funding-cut bill would reduce spending in FY 2017 by $154 million. Most of the reduction would come after taking $128 million from K-12 education with another $23 million from Regents institutions. Overall, this plan cuts K-12 education by 5%, higher education by 3%, and the Schools for the Deaf and Blind by 1%.

The leadership of the Senate plans to convene the full Senate at 8:00 am on Thursday and work both bills.

We oppose the tax bill because it does not fully address the disaster brought on by the Brownback cuts. Passing this plan, even coupled with cuts, would require the legislature to address continuing shortfalls going forward with more tax increase votes likely. We support a comprehensive tax plan that restores funding such that vital state services can be adequately funded.

We also oppose the draconian cuts to K-12 education and higher education. When the Governor is challenging higher education institutions to provide a $15,000 undergraduate degree, it is counterproductive to cut state funding for our colleges and universities. As for the K-12 cuts, any cuts run counter to common sense as we await the decision on adequacy by the Kansas Supreme Court.

We are pleased to see that the House Taxation Committee appears to be on a more rational path, examining a proposal to raise enough money to restore fiscal stability to Kansas.

We urge the Senate to amend the tax bill to include a comprehensive solution or send SB147 back to Committee. While the tax bill is a move in the right direction, it falls far short of what is necessary to put Kansas back on sound financial footing. We urge the senate to vote no on SB 27, the “cuts bill.”

We believe that both chambers need to develop comprehensive tax policy bills that provide for the restoration of funding necessary for vital state services. We do not wish to be in a position to consider still more cuts and more tax increases indefinitely into the future.


Rise Up Plan Gets Hearing!

The Rise Up tax reform plan supported by KNEA, Kansas Action for Children (KAC), AFT/KOSE, the Kansas Contractors Association, the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) and others got its day in Committee today.

The first proponent of the plan was Duane Goosen, the former budget director for Governors Graves, Sebelius, and Parkinson. Other proponents included KCEG Executive Director Heidi Holliday, Wesley McCain of Healthy Communities Wyandotte, KAC President Annie McKay, Christina Ostmeyer of Kansas Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, Scott Englemeyer of the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs, Rob Gilligan of KASB, Bob Totten of the Kansas Contractors Association, Reverend Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan of the Kansas Interfaith Alliance, KNEA’s Mark Desetti, AFT/KOSE Executive Director Rebecca Proctor, Ashley Jones-Wisner of Healthy Kids Kansas, and Scott Anderson of Hamm Companies (highway construction firm).

Opponents kicked off their arguments with Dave Trabert, anti-government zealot with the Kansas Policy Institute, Jeff Glendening with Americans for Prosperity, Tom Palace with Independent Petroleum Marketers, Tom Whitaker of Kansas Motorcarriers Association (opposing only motor fuel tax increase), Eric Stafford of Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

One neutral conferee from Kansas Association of Counties.

13 proponents to 5 opponents (where 1 opponent only opposes the motor fuel tax).

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Has Senator Moran entered a bunker?

Feb 2, 2017 by

Senator Moran’s voicemail has been full for days.  Now, emails are bouncing back to senders. Kansas public education advocates want to encourage Senator Moran to VOTE NO on Betsy Devos.  Will Senator Moran show the courage to listen to Kansans or bow to partisan p read more

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TAKE ACTION NOW!

Feb 1, 2017 by

Full Senate to vote soon on Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education.

Senator Jerry Moran has indicated that he will vote for confirmation of Betsy DeVos.  Before he does, call him or email him and tell him the following:

  • Republican Senate colleagues like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski have indicated that Betsy DeVos will be BAD FOR RURAL SCHOOLS.  Kansas is a largely rural state.
  • Betsy DeVos is unqualified, facing accusations of plagiarism and has misstepped on basic issues like Special Education.
  • Having Betsy DeVos run the U.S. Department of Education would be like appointing a former official from PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) to run the Kansas Livestock Association.  Her experience and personal agenda are incongruous with the position she is seeking.

Tell Senator Moran to stand with Kansas public schools and to vote NO on Betsy DeVos!

CLICK HERE to contact Senator Moran now! ALSO, call him and leave a message at one of his offices.

Phone: (202) 224-6521  Washington D.C. Office

Phone: (785) 628-6401 Hays, KS

Phone: (785) 539-8973 Manhattan, KS

Phone: (620) 232-2286 Pittsburg, KS

Phone: (316) 631-1410 Wichita, KS

Phone: (913) 393-0711 Olathe, KS

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Take Action on Betsy DeVos Confirmation

Jan 27, 2017 by

It’s working. You’ve sent more than 800,000 emails to senators, and called their offices more than 32,000 times, demanding that they reject Betsy DeVos’ nomination to be secretary of education.

Now the Senate Education Committee has delayed their vote. Senators are being inundated with your emails and calls, and they’re looking more closely at DeVos’ clear and demonstrated lack of knowledge of public education, and at her concerning ethics disclosures.

If you haven’t taken action yet, now is the time. If you’ve already contacted your senators, it’s time to contact them again. Here’s the plan:

Step 1: Email your senators. Keep up the drumbeat that DeVos is completely unqualified to be put in charge of our nation’s schools.

Step 2: Call your senators at 1-855-882-6229. Make sure they feel the pressure in Washington and in their district offices.

Step 3: Share this post on Facebook. Spread the word that you don’t want DeVos to be confirmed, and ask your friends to contact their senators, too.

CLICK HERE to read more.

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Pro Worker Bills Unveiled (Due Process Included)

Jan 26, 2017 by

House and Senate Democrats today hosted a press conference and stated clearly their intent to help working and middle-class Kansans by unveiling several bills designed to do just that.  In his opening remarks, House Minority Leader, Jim Ward acknowledged that these bills incur no additional cost to the state.  This is very important in light of the push to pass a sensible, fair and comprehensive tax plan.  CLICK HERE for more on the RISE UP KANSAS tax proposal.

One bill, to be co-sponsored by Representatives Crum and Stogsdill, seeks the restoration of due process rights for K-12 teachers.  Due process protection affords teachers the right to advocate for their students without the fear of unfair reprisal while helping to attract great teachers to Kansas.  The press conference was attended by dozens of working Kansans and labor organization members and representatives in a showing of support and solidarity.  Like all bills, these have many steps to go through on their way to becoming law, but this is certainly an encouraging step.

CLICK HERE to read press coverage of today’s announcement.

CLICK HERE to view the press conference as it happened live.

We will have more coverage of late committee hearings in tomorrow’s edition of Under the Dome.

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