Hawver: Wailing and Rending of Garments

Martin Hawver
Martin Hawver

After a week’s wailing and rending of garments, we’re going to find out whether Republicans can make a big enough deal out of the four line-item vetoes Gov. Laura Kelly inflicted on their third try at passing a budget to give them what they can call a political win.

Kelly’s vetoes last week are relatively low-dollar, and there’s not a lot of outcry from anyone affected by them except for legislative Republican leaders. Democrats have been largely silent on the line-item vetoes which are worth a total of about $54 million from the multibillion-dollar budget.

Only significant spending cut accomplished with a ballpoint pen is $51 million in accelerated repayment of money borrowed in earlier (Republican Govs. Sam Brownback/Jeff Colyer) era from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS).

That $51 million? It would be atop a $115 million pay-back to KPERS that lawmakers and the governor made earlier this year which most state retirees are still celebrating.

The objection to that KPERS veto? Mostly formulaic, with Republicans generally saying that Kelly is punishing the retirees, that she plans massive “grow the government” spending increases in the next years—you rarely go politically wrong by tossing money at KPERS.

For Democrats, well they are relatively quiet on their Democrat governor’s KPERS veto, mostly citing that earlier $115 million and the need for the state to hold down spending so that there is less need for tax increases in future years.

All stuff we’ve heard before from both parties. No adrenaline rush here…

The whittled-down income tax bill that Kelly vetoed? So far, hall talk puts override success as unlikely, but that’s the biggie for Republicans. Win that one, and few will notice the budget bill’s line-item vetoes. But if the GOP can’t beat Kelly on taxes, then it’s time to talk about KPERS, and those other, smaller cuts she carved into the Legislature’s budget.

And who is going to be politically excited by overriding a $705,000 cut from a Board of Pharmacy program, or $1.8 million from the Department for Aging and Disability Services or $1.2 million for Department of Education for a reading research program? Oh, they are all probably nice programs, but the majority of Kansans have never heard about them. Angering voters about those line-item vetoes would take longer than most politicians want to spend on the effort.

At this point, just a year away from the House and Senate standing for reelection, it might be politically valuable for conservative lawmakers to scratch up the paint on Kelly’s official state SUV…just to show that they’re still in the game.

It’s all about Medicaid expansion that Kelly lost this session by a handful of votes and clever parliamentary maneuvering in the Senate and the possibility that the tax bill she vetoed might be overridden and become law.

If it comes down to a scrap over the line-item vetoes, we’ll know that the politics of the session remain up in the air. For Kelly, win on taxes, lose on Medicaid expansion. For the GOP legislature, lose on taxes, win on Medicaid expansion…or so it seems. The Medicaid battle is mostly GOP leadership with thin margins that Kelly hopes to overcome this summer.

***

Chances look good that nobody’s going to claim a real victory this session. Not the new governor, not the still-Republican (but moderating) legislature, and probably not Kansans.

Hard to consider this session just a warm-up for the real fight ahead, but at least that will make the upcoming 2020 session worth watching…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Opinion: Puerto Rico Statehood

I have been thinking for months that I needed to open write this letter, to every member of Congress. Sadly, I kept putting it off. Perhaps though it was a matter of timing. On March  28, a couple of members of Congress brought my thoughts before Congress. In a comment on a friend’s Facebook post, I stated my opinion. This two-sentence comment was just a few hours before Representative Darren Soto (D-FL), introduced legislation Thursday to make Puerto Rico the nation’s 51st state. His co-sponsor is the shadow member of Congress from Puerto Rico. She is a “shadow member,” because since she is from a U.S. Territory she cannot vote on the floor of Congress. Each territory has a shadow member, they can vote in committees and cosponsor bills, but they cannot cast an actual vote in Congress. Which is part of the crux of the issue! Puerto Rico residents are U. S. Citizens but they have no true representation in Congress.

Furthermore, the residents can vote in presidential primaries, but they cannot vote in Presidential general elections or even Congressional elections. That simply is not right. It is time to stop treating them like an unwanted stepchild and fully admit them as the 51st state, with the full rights of all other U.S. Citizens. They are U.S. Citizens and should be treated as such. The territory should become the 51st state.

They have voted to be admitted. In fact, there have been four votes for statehood. The most recent in June 2017, in which the residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of.  Let’s stop playing around and get our 51st state, without haste.  After that, I believe our other U.S. territories should become states as well. Those other territories are American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Like Puerto Rico, the residents are U.S. Citizens, but cannot vote in the Federal general elections. It is time to make this right. However, we must start with Puerto Rico, without delay, which has voted in favor of becoming a state.

—-

D. Kevin Surbaugh
1003 9th St
Baldwin City, KS 66006
785-304-4041

Hawver: Consensus Revenue Estimate

Well, we got last week the Consensus Revenue Estimate (CRE) for the upcoming two years of government in Kansas, and it was so low-key that you could have worn the same shirt the next day. No excitement.

Martin Hawver
Martin Hawver

That CRE, assembled by a group of state fiscal experts and university economics professors, predicts the state is going to take in about $15 million more in the next two years than most of us thought. Oh, there was good news in that the tiny predicted increases of money for the state to spend came after the Legislature and governor had spent $115 million this spring to repay money borrowed from the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System. So, the estimate on which the budget will be crafted reflects spending that most would consider reasonable.

But…there was no excitement. For a Legislature that stands for reelection next year it wasn’t bad news—no tax increases needed to keep the Statehouse doors open—but also not enough increase in revenues to support much of a tax cut for those Kansans who will vote next fall on whether to send their legislator back to indoor parking, drinks and meals from lobbyists and, oh yes…running state government.

Practically, that CRE means that there isn’t any real need for a tax increase—except maybe taxing some of that neat stuff you buy over the Internet and wait two days to be delivered. That’s almost a freebie. Sales-tax that Internet stuff like you tax the sales at brick and mortar stores which sell the same stuff. Doesn’t sound very radical, does it?

The low CRE increase isn’t all bad news. It might actually have the effect of finally spending some money on things like, well, K-12 finance, on social workers and prison guards and those social policies that don’t show up for all of us, but which make the state a better place to live and maybe provide better lives for those who live here.

That isn’t the sort of policy/spending that leads to exciting discussions at the screen door between candidates and voters, or that leads to fascinating palm cards to hand out, but it probably means that lawmakers get to spend time concentrating on better management, more effective programs and a more businesslike government.

So, what’s possible with the meager increase in state revenues?

Look for some little tax cuts, specifically targeted to improve lives.  Not the $130 million that corporations wanted. When there’s not much money to spend, lawmakers tend to focus on voters, not corporations.

And with not much money for tax cuts, that mostly-for-show one percent cut in the sales tax on food likely will be thought through a little better than what was mostly decoration on the tax cut bill vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly. Remember that? As icing on the corporate/upper-middle class tax reduction bill, lawmakers cut the sales tax on groceries by a penny on the dollar. Spend $10 at the grocery store? You save a dime. Not exactly the way to see Kansans better finance their rent or car payments or kids’ school clothes, is it?  There are surely better ways to help the poor than with pocket change that won’t even buy a candy bar.

Nope, no excitement from the revenue estimate. Sorta like catching your car door before it swings out and bangs the other car. But there’s a dab of money there and while it will take a little longer to explain, those social programs, health care, prison guards, pre-school education for children all pay off as good investments.

Just not very flashy.

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Hawver: Puff of White Smoke

Martin Hawver, Columnist
Martin Hawver

Thursday will be, well, not quite the same as a puff of white smoke emerging from the Vatican to signal selection of a new Pope, but close for us habitués of the Kansas Statehouse.

It’s the day that the Consensus Revenue Estimating (CRE) Group posits just what the state will book in revenues for the remainder of this fiscal year (to June 30) and for the upcoming fiscal year.

That estimate becomes the basis for every dime in spending that the Kansas Legislature will approve for the rest of this, and all of the next, fiscal year.

It’s the bank account. Don’t over-spend, and at the same time, don’t not spend enough to provide Kansans the services that they want their state—and its governor and Legislature—to spend on them.

The group, professors and economists and such, looks at virtually every tax number available. Then they estimate just how much of that will wind up in the State General Fund, and then the governor and legislators spend it.

This year’s CRE will provide the first good look at the “trickle down” of the December 2017 federal income tax cuts, which presumably freed up more money for the state to levy taxes against.

Businesses—those with overseas interests—that have been pushing for $130 million in income tax cuts to keep their tax bills level may or may not be able to recalculate just how much in the way of tax breaks they need to keep their profits stable or growing. Then they just have to squeeze it out of the Legislature.

And individual income taxpayers? Not sure, but the CRE will likely tell us how those federal income tax changes—lower rates—will work to make more of their income taxable by the state. Remember, Kansas income tax calculations start with what’s left over after you’ve paid your federal income taxes.

While the rate reductions are a key to that CRE computation, it may well tell legislators just how those new and higher federal standard deductions ($12,000 for single filers, $24,000 for marrieds filing jointly) will work with the state’s standard deductions. Remember, because the Legislature hasn’t “de-coupled” those standard deductions, if you can’t top the federal standard deduction then you are stuck with the Kansas standard deduction–$3,000 for singles, $7,500 for marrieds filing jointly.

What might we learn Thursday? Well, it starts with CRE predicting enough revenue to finance government, and probably pick up some of those services that have been squeezed the last few years because revenues were lower than hoped.

And if the estimate is for more money than needed for those basics? Well, after saving a dab for fiscal safety, there’s likely to be some room for tax cuts—possibly even this legislative session.

Of course, then the fight over the tax cut bill that Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed starts again, but at least there would be an identifiable amount of money that can be spent on tax cuts—after the social welfare, education, transportation and administrative pieces of the state budget are taken care of.

How much will be floating around? We’ll know Thursday.

And who gets that loose change in the state’s pocket?  Corporations? Probably not. Individual income taxpayers? That’ll be fun to watch. Give it to the poor and middle-class or give it to the wealthier Kansans. As we recall, each of those folks gets one vote, and there are more Kansans in the lower brackets than at the top.

That CRE puff of white smoke? It might blow in a lot of directions…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Hawver: Veto of the Tax Cut

Governor Laura Kelly vetoed that massive tax cut bill that she didn’t like and says the state can’t afford; it doesn’t appear that action, first veto of her term, will be overridden.

 

Martin Hawver, Columnist
Martin Hawver

Oh, there’s talk about it, but practically, the votes don’t appear to be there for the override. And leaders in the House and Senate who supported the bill and would like the override aren’t interested in seeing a failed veto attempt diminish their power or perceived power, so don’t look for that override try.

 

Let’s see how a veto vote works. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, leader of the Senate GOP with enough Republicans but not votes to override, won’t get it done. House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, is similarly situated. Plenty of Republicans, just not enough votes. Why try when it’s likely to fail, and both Wagle and Ryckman will hear from constituents “…and you still couldn’t get Kelly overridden?” That talk gets old the first couple dozen times you hear it.

But…there are some smaller tax cuts, none related to the biggest portion of that three-year $230 million cut for corporations doing overseas business, that are in the air and low-buck enough that they wouldn’t wreck Kelly’s first budget.

Watch for property tax “relief.”

Nice thing about it for the Legislature is that whatever happens to property tax cuts doesn’t happen here…in the Statehouse and the State General Fund, but rather with local units of government. It’s called “free” tax cuts, paid for by local units of government which live on property taxes, but with legislators’ names on the bill.

Does it get any better than that? Tax cuts, no cost, and all the glory that legislative candidates can make fit on their reelection palm cards.

The Senate, which tends to lead this year in major legislation, has passed its major property tax cut bill this year and sent it to the House.

It puts a freeze on property taxes at the current level—if you’re 65 or older, or a veteran with a 50 percent disability.

Oh, and if your household income (all who live there) is less than $50,000 a year, and the house is valued at less than $350,000, whether it’s paid off or not.

That means if you qualify for the program, you get to go to the picnics and get to hear your neighbors gripe about property tax increases, while you just reach for another beer or handful of chips.

Oh, there are some other tax cuts floating around, but with the biggie now off the table, nobody’s come up with a sales tax exemption for, say, assault rifles or holsters for those concealed-carry fans.

Key, of course, is to find a group whose taxes can be cut slightly but memorably, at relatively low cost. And while Kelly is firm about not cutting taxes (or, rather, receipts) enough to damage the budget, there are probably some little measures out there…

Already, there’s been a bill that has gone nowhere to exempt from state income tax Social Security payments, which is expected to cost somewhere north of $70 million in lost revenues, but revenues from folks who vote and from folks who remember who saved them money.

Possible? Probably not, it’s a narrowly focused political tax cut, but every retiree will remember it, and probably their children will get to hear about it at every gathering.

The tax cut issue isn’t over, though it doesn’t look good for those multinational corporations. And it’s going to have to be relatively low cost.

Let’s see where this goes next…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Opinion: Fiscal Responsibility Critical to Rebuilding Kansas

Just two short years ago, the State of Kansas found itself on the brink of financial disaster. Even after depleting state savings and enduring multiple rounds of devastating budget cuts, unsustainable tax policy continued to perpetuate fiscal crisis. We saw schools close and class sizes grow. We saw an overwhelmed child welfare system let children fall through the cracks. And despite promises of immediate prosperity, Kansas routinely ranked among the nation’s worst in multiple economic indicators.

Governor Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly was sworn in during the Kansas Governor Inauguration ceremony this past week. Kansas Governor Kelly took office on Jan. 15, 2018, with a ceremony that was held on the steps of the capitol building in Topeka, Kansas.

As the budget hole continued to grow, the legislature passed two sales tax increases, swept more than $2 billion from the state highway fund, delayed numerous payments to the state pension system, accumulated historic levels of debt, and raided every critical investment from early childhood education to public safety. But in the end, none of these short-term band-aids could stem the bleeding caused by the reckless Brownback tax experiment. In November of 2016, Kansans called for change.

The very next year, the state hit “reset” in a historic act of bipartisanship with the passage of comprehensive tax reform. Our credit score improved within a week. The number of Kansans participating in the labor force increased for the first time since 2014.

We have only just started the rebuilding process. Our recovery is uncertain; our budget is fragile. The State of Kansas cannot afford to make a U-turn now.

Senate Bill 22 – another reckless tax plan – would absolutely dismantle all the progress we’ve made. It would throw our state once again into a self-inflicted budget crisis, diminishing all the investments we’ve worked so hard to rebuild and restore. It would put our future at risk once again in order to give significant tax breaks to entities who need them the least while continuing to leave working families behind.

I share Kansas lawmakers’ desire to keep the state tax burden as low as possible and that will continue to be a priority. In January, I presented a structurally balanced budget that funded our schools and roads, reduced state debt, left Kansas with the largest ending balance in 20 years and did so all without a tax increase.

I was a math major. This is about basic math. My budget proposal left a healthy, fiscally responsible ending balance. If I had signed Senate Bill 22, the budget that just passed the Senate would fall to more than $600 million in the hole within two years.

That is unacceptable. That is irresponsible.

We must be patient, thoughtful, and prudent as we evaluate tax policy. And, when we move forward with sustainable, commonsense tax relief, we must ensure that it benefits the Kansans who need it the most. We will focus on reducing the sales tax on food and providing real tax relief to working families.

The people of Kansas elected me to rebuild our state. They elected me to bring fiscally conservative and responsible principles back to our government. And I refuse to endorse another round of fiscally reckless policies – similar to the Brownback tax experiment – that left our state in shambles and our families struggling.

I commit to you – the people of Kansas – that I will stabilize our state’s budget, invest in our shared priorities and continue the recovery we have all fought so hard to begin. By following through on this commitment, our state has every reason to expect a bright and successful future.

Governor Laura Kelly

Governor of Kansas

Topeka, KS

 

Hawver: Calendar is Ticking

Well, the clock, or rather, calendar, is ticking–or whatever calendars do to make noise—on the tax bill that the Republican legislature sent to Democrat Governor Laura Kelly, who doesn’t want it.

Martin Hawver
Martin Hawver

And…that ticking clock is aiming toward Friday, the 10th day that the governor will have had the tax bill–that she didn’t want passed–on her desk. By or on Friday, she can sign the bill (in which case, we suspect a breath alcohol test would be in order), veto as expected or allow it to become law without her signature (another breath test?).

You know the story, the $220 million bill that she continues to say she doesn’t like and which she said would return Kansas to the former Gov. Sam Brownback “tax experiment” days that drained the state budget and caused massive reduction in services.

The bill is good for an initial estimated $137 million in tax cuts for businesses which have international earnings the federal government is now taxing, about $50 million for individual income taxpayers, about $42 million in reduced sales taxes on food and about $21 million in additional revenues to the state from taxing some Internet purchases. That all adds up to about $220 million less money coming into the State General Fund in the year which starts July 1.

(OK, time for the cultural explainer: Conservatives say that the income tax bill’s provisions aren’t a tax cut, they are merely a tax stabilizer. Those conservatives say Kansas didn’t change the federal tax code that makes more money available for Kansas to tax, and those “adjustments” just keep Kansas from profiting from the federal tax law change.)

Timing is the big issue here. Kelly will have to do something with the tax bill before there are solid numbers on how the federal tax law changes the state’s tax receipts from corporations and individuals.

Kansas leaders aren’t likely to know just how much “extra” federal trickle-down money the state is going to receive from that December 2017 federal tax law change until April 18. That’s when the state’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group figures out how much money the state is going to take in next year, and presumably how much of it is from those federal tax law changes.

By the way, the Legislature will be on Spring Break on April 18, will return for its “Veto Session” May 1, and have 16 days to work out the tax/budget issue before coming to the end of its traditional 90-day session.

Hmmm…taxes and spending, the two major duties of the Legislature, and so far, there’s been passed a major tax-cutting bill before lawmakers know how much they need to spend next year. Admittedly, lawmakers are working on what they call the “Mega” budget, which is essentially, well…the essentials for operating government. There will be at session’s end the “Omnibus” bill to deal with new expenditures, to reshuffle spending once they know just how much money they will have to spend and to figure out what they can afford.

But the tax bill action this week is going to shuffle everything. Veto the bill, there’s more money to spend, sign (or allow it to become law without the signature of Kelly) and there’s less money to spend.

Who’s in the gunsights: Look for the real scrap to be over the biggest tax reduction, that for corporations, which want the tax cut badly but don’t vote.

The tax bill, interesting fight between the Governor and the Republican-dominated Legislature. We’ll see whether the revenue report April 18 resuscitates any of those tax cuts…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Hawver: Medicaid Expansion, School Funding, Taxes and Budget

It took quite a while, but we’re finally getting to the part of the session where most of the boys would be advised to wear protective cups as debate sharpens over school funding, taxes, the budget…and Medicaid expansion.

Martin Hawver, Columnist
Martin Hawver

Things heated up last week when the Senate passed to the House what is the governor’s proposal to appropriate $92 million to the State Department of Education that the governor and (at least publicly) the Senate believes will meet the Kansas Supreme Court order to adequately finance K-12 schools.

The Statehouse grew hotter when the Senate bought some minor House amendments to its major corporate/individual income tax cut bill and sent it to the governor for a (bet on it) veto.

And the session flashed when both the House and Senate (the Senate more artfully) reached into their separate “Mega” bills–the major appropriation legislation of the session–to take the $14 million Gov. Laura Kelly proposed to expand Medicaid (we call it KanCare in Kansas) health care to more than 100,000 mostly poor Kansans.

That flashpoint on Medicaid expansion is probably the most insider politically interesting.  Kelly put in her budget that $14 million, the state’s first-year price tag of Medicaid expansion, that will create a system in which the state will pay 10 percent of health-care costs for poor Kansans and the federal government will pay 90 percent of those bills.

The Legislature passed Medicaid expansion in 2017, saw former Gov. Sam Brownback veto the bill, and was unable to override that veto. But the numbers were big, back then. The Senate mustered 25 votes for the measure, the House 81.  But 81 votes weren’t enough to override the veto.

This year, it appears that the Senate and House might have votes to expand Medicaid and don’t have to worry about a veto. Getting that expansion bill to the floor for debate is the problem.

So, with conservative leadership in both chambers opposed to Medicaid expansion…what happens to that $14 million that Kelly put in her budget…that $14 million that will draw more than $500 million in federal money for health care for Kansas’ poor?

The House Appropriations Committee just took that money that Kelly proposed for starting the program and tossed it back into the all-purpose State General Fund.  Nope, there’s no policy bill on the horizon that would expand Medicaid, but at least that $14 million would have allowed Kansas to operate the program if it found its way to the governor’s desk.

The Senate? It’s Ways and Means Committee was a little more politically clever. A majority of that panel doesn’t want Medicaid expansion but chose to take that $14 million the governor wants and keep it within the Department of Health and Environment…for a different purpose.

Now, Health and Environment isn’t exactly a cuddly agency, but the Senate committee took that $14 million and appropriated it for an increase in the fees it will pay physicians for care of the poor. Two years ago, the Legislature cut doctors’ KanCare payments by four percent. Restoring that four percent costs about $14 million.

So, the Senate can say it favors health care for the poor, just not a whole lot more of them, as some doctors are now refusing to care for Medicaid clients because of low reimbursement. The Senate panel is voting to pay doctors more to keep them in the Medicaid system, which sounds relatively socially progressive, doesn’t it?

Of course, none of that $14 million juggling matters if Medicaid isn’t expanded. And that’s one reason to watch the budget bill—which can’t be amended to include Medicaid expansion–to see whether that $14 million sliver pops the budget…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Hawver: Tax Cut?

The major tax cut bill of the 2019 Legislature has now passed, in slightly different forms, both the House and Senate and we’re waiting to see what happens next…and next…and possibly next as the 2017 federal tax cuts trickle down into state finances and politics.

Martin Hawver
Martin Hawver

The Legislature’s tax debate wasn’t all that exciting because, well, it’s a tax bill and it is complicated and technical. So, the excitement starts now.

Key is that both the Republican-controlled House and Senate have agreed to the major income tax cut provisions of the bill. The Senate baked the cake, with about $187 million in income tax cuts this year, about $50 million for individual income taxpayers and about $137 million for corporate income taxpayers. Next year, the ratio changes, with some individual Kansans seeing about $60 million in cuts, corporations about $51 million in cuts.

And when that cake got to the House, well, it got frosted. The House added a 1 percent cut in the state sales tax on food (from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent) which will cost the state about $43 million in lost revenue next fiscal year and about $66 million in lost revenue (or, kept by food buyers), partially paid for by a new Internet sales tax, which might bring in about $21 million next year and maybe $33 million a year after that.

The next thing to happen will be when the Senate decides whether it wants that appealing frosting. We all want to pay less sales tax on the food or anything we buy, and those local stores don’t want Internet sellers, to not have to collect Kansas sales tax that they have to charge customers, which costs them, customers.

Now, part of the House’s frosting looks better than it’s actually going to taste. Dropping the sales tax on food (starting Oct. 1) is going to leave a little more change in Kansans’ pockets. And the guy buying steak gets the same percentage cut as the guy buying bologna. Hard to tell whether either will notice the sales tax cut, but the provision is probably worth mention on a campaign palm card.

And everyone who has a store is by this time tired of customers saying they can get stuff cheaper over the Internet…especially without a 6.5 percent sales tax added in as local stores must.

So, watch for the Senate to decide next week whether to negotiate those food and Internet taxes or just OK them and vote to send the bill to the governor.

Next after that?

It’ll be the governor likely vetoing the bill because it will upset her budget and because nobody’s really sure yet just what that federal tax cut /expansion “trickle down” is going to mean to state revenues. Lots of guesses, lots of charts and tables and explanations, but the Department of Revenue hasn’t actually counted the dollars in additional revenue that federal tax cut will send to Kansas.

While the House and Senate stand for reelection next year, Gov. Laura Kelly’s got nearly four years to figure out how to pay for basic state responsibilities: schools, highways, possible expansion of Medicaid, pension, roads… She needs revenue to pay for all the things Kansans want and need from their government.

And next after that?

It’ll be the House and Senate trying to override the veto. The House passed the bill 76-43, and in that chamber, it takes 84 votes to override a veto. The Senate earlier passed the (un-frosted) bill 26-14, just one vote short of the 27 needed for an override.

And next after that? If it becomes law, we’ll see how House and Senate candidates tout it.

One Republican already has calculated that a 1 percent drop in the sales tax is—ready?—a 15 percent cut in the sales tax on food…

 

By Martin Hawver

Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit the website at www.hawvernews.com

Dear Editor: Thank You for Switching

Thank you Kansas State Senators Barbara Bollier and Dinah Skyes, and State Representative Stephanie Clatyton for switching to the Democratic Party.

Your Courage is applauded for honoring your values.

No one needs to be a billionaire.

As Democrats you are giving us a chance to have voices  heard on issues that matter to our community.

We support your desire to represent us.

Thank You!

by Sam Gellhorn