Legislative Update By State Senator Caryn Tyson

Senator Caryn Tyson listens to a constituent following the legislative coffee sponsored by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce in 2018.


February 8, 2019

Effort to Stop Growing Government:  As a result of 2017 the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many states, including Kansas, will have to change their tax laws in order to avoid a state tax increase.  The Senate passed legislation last year dealing with the issue but it failed in the House.  This year the Senate has again picked up the banner in an attempt to pass legislation as quickly as possible so that some taxpayers will not have to file amended returns and to keep the money where it was intended – with the taxpayer.  Currently, individual taxpayers cannot itemize on their Kansas tax return unless they itemize on their Federal tax return.  Senate Bill (SB) 22 will allow individual taxpayers an option to itemize, which could impact your 2018 taxes since the bill is retro-active.  Unfortunately, the bill only allows 50% of medical and mortgage deductions for tax-year 2018.  It increases to 75% in tax-year 2019 and to 100% in tax-year 2020.  SB 22 also addresses corporate money that has been earned offshore, allowing the money to come to Kansas with no Kansas income tax owed.  Most corporations are tax savvy and if Kansas does nothing the money will most likely go elsewhere.  The Senate passed SB 22 on a vote of 26 to 14.  I voted Yes.  The bill must pass the House and not be vetoed by the Governor to become law.


Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS):  Senate Bill (SB) 9 will require Kansas to pay the KPERS fund on-time, which will save the State money.  It passed the Senate unanimously.  Hopefully, the House and the Governor will act quickly so that SB 9 becomes law.


Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) Recognized in the Senate and House for serving Kansans for 100 years.  KFB is a grassroots organization that promotes agriculture, education, community, and rural life.  It was a pleasure to have KFB President Felts and many others in the Capitol to celebrate.


Hunting and Fishing Fees:  Last week I mentioned SB 50, a bill Wildlife and Parks requested to increase almost all hunting and fishing fees by 50% and some 100%.  It was announced the bill will not get out of committee.  It would be nice to say the issue is dead but that just isn’t the case.    However, it does appear it will not get traction this year.


Debt:  School bonding debt for new buildings and maintenance of buildings has increased from $5.7 billion to $6.4 in less than three years.  From 2008 to 2018 it has increased over $2.6 billion.  There has been an attempt to address the continued increase in bonding debt to no avail.           

As of June 30, Statewide School District Indebtedness Annual Change
2008 3,777,562,130
2009 4,459,650,707 682,088,577
2010 4,602,634,429 142,983,722
2011 4,483,953,136 -118,681,293
2012 4,476,413,399 -7,539,737
2013 4,659,624,797 183,211,398
2014 5,281,919,283 622,294,486
2015 5,623,047,441 341,128,158
2016 5,790,934,088 167,886,647
2017 6,089,382,797 298,448,709
2018 6,416,193,352 326,810,555


It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.


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