May 10, 2019
Veto Session, which is a time to finish up business, was a bit of a four day roller coaster. Promises made, some kept and others – well it is what gives politics a negative connotation.
Budget: Spending that was approved in Senate Bill (SB) 26 is approximately $7.7 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, an increase of $600 million. Since 2013 State expenditures have increased over $3 billion. That is a 19% increase in less than 7 years. There were some good things in the budget but I could not support this out-of-control spending. The vote was 26 Yes to 14 No.
Tax: House Bill (HB) 2033 was another attempt to pass legislation that would address the state income tax increases that occurred as a result of the 2017 federal income tax changes by allowing Kansas taxpayers the option to itemize and defining tax rates for money earned offshore and brought to Kansas. Since the Governor vetoed the last attempt, the bill included other items to “sweeten” the deal. Finney County would be approved for a sales tax increase, sales tax on food would be lowered by 1%, vendors would be required to collect on-line sales tax, and small business owner would be able to expense items at a rate similar to corporate expensing laws. Similar, because corporate expensing law would be changed to restrict the deduction to 100% of the purchase price. Currently, corporations can expense at a value greater than the purchase price. HB 2033 would allow small businesses and corporations to only deduct 100% of the item. The bill passed 27 to 13. I voted Yes.
Transportation: Several transportation topics were covered in SB 63. The bill would allow a city to adopt an ordinance to allow Uber or similar company drivers to display a lighted sign so that a ride is easily identified. Crimes have been committed when people got into cars they thought was their ride but it wasn’t. The bill would allow All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Utility-Task Vehicles (UTV) to cross federal or state highways. The bill would also authorize transparent material that blocks the sun’s ultraviolet rays on a vehicle’s windshield. The Senate position would have had no restrictions but the House wanted a doctor’s signed statement saying there is a medical need for the material. The House position was upheld so that if a person installs the material and is issued a citation, they have 60 days to produce a doctor’s statement. The bill passed the Senate unanimously.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.