Stop costly tax plan from harming Kansas’ future!
Senate Bill 50 – sometimes referred to as “Brownback 2.0” – would slash revenue to the state budget by $307.7 million putting funding for all state services, including education, in jeopardy.
While the bill would provide some tax relief for ordinary Kansans (a maximum of $28.50 for most Kansans), it would provide generous benefits to companies that hide their revenue overseas to avoid paying federal taxes.
Proponents of the bill seem to believe that the only reason a company would move to Kansas would be to pay less in taxes and, while tax rates do matter, what matters more is the state infrastructure that supports commerce, the quality of the workforce available (that’s education!), and quality healthcare programs for their employees and their families to have access to. Under Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas Department of Commerce has been reinvigorated and as a result, Kansas is growing despite the terrible impact of the pandemic. Companies like Urban Outfitters, Amazon, and Great Plains Manufacturing have brought $2.5 billion in new investment to Kansas over the past year.
What Kansas needs to do now is to continue to invest in those things that really matter to companies: education, health care, and infrastructure, in particular.
When the legislature returns on May 3, we expect there will be an attempt to override Governor Kelly’s veto of SB 50.
Governor Kelly’s Veto Message on SB 50
“Last year, despite COVID-19, Kansas experienced a record-setting $2.5 billion in new investment from businesses. These companies chose to make Kansas home in large part due to the state’s recent investments in our economic development tools, prioritizing funding for infrastructure improvements, and reinvesting in our students.
“As many of you with whom I served well remember, in order to provide sustainable funding for essential government services, we cannot return to the era of perennial, self-inflicted budget crises that undermine the very fabric and foundation of our state.”
“Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto Senate Bill 50.”
SENATE BILL 55 ESTABLISHES STATE-SANCTIONED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST TRANSGENDER GIRLS
Senate Bill 55 started out as SB 208 and continues in the same vein as the original. The bill bans transgender girls in public K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities from participating on girl’s or women’s athletic teams. According to the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which currently regulates the participation of transgender students on sports teams, there are only five such students on teams in Kansas at this time.
KNEA opposes the bill because of the negative impact on transgender students who are already at a greater risk of depression and suicide due to discrimination and marginalization. The bill is also opposed by the NCAA and is likely to result in the loss of scheduled NCAA tournaments that are already scheduled to be played in Kansas. Several area chambers of commerce have openly opposed the bill saying such legislation harms their ability to attract employees and, in the case of the Kansas City area, in particular, will likely hamper their efforts to attract a World Cup soccer tournament.
Leading the opposition to the bill is Equality Kansas, formerly the Kansas Equality Coalition, which was established in October 2005. Originally formed by the merger of independent LGBT advocacy groups in Topeka, Manhattan, and Wichita, Equality Kansas is a chapter-based grassroots organization. Equality Kansas currently has 11 chapters and more than 2,000 members around the state.
Governor Kelly vetoed the bill but we expect the legislature will vote to override her veto when they return on May 3. Equality Kansas has set up an alert on SB 55, urging legislators to sustain the Governor’s veto of the bill.