Thursday, December 18, 2014

TYSON: Shoveling through senate bills

By CARYN TYSON, Kansas State Senate | 2/5/2014

As written, Senate Bill 298 would repeal the mortgage registration tax. Hearings on SB 298 were spread across two days last month. Currently, the tax is $26 for every $10,000 mortgaged. If a person doesn’t have a mortgage or gets a mortgage from Farm Credit, then they do not pay the registration tax. The average cost of the mortgage registration fee is $441.

Proponents of the bill believe it is an unfair tax because not everyone who records a purchase with the Register of Deeds office pays the fee and it is a tax on low-income buyers in which higher-income buyers don’t pay their share (those who pay cash). Opponents of the bill, a majority of county officials throughout the state, contend revenue generated from mortgage filings is essential to county budgets and the bill will most likely result in higher property taxes.

As written, Senate Bill 298 would repeal the mortgage registration tax. Hearings on SB 298 were spread across two days last month. Currently, the tax is $26 for every $10,000 mortgaged. If a person doesn’t have a mortgage or gets a mortgage from Farm Credit, then they do not pay the registration tax. The average cost of the mortgage registration fee is $441.

Proponents of the bill believe it is an unfair tax because not everyone who records a purchase with the Register of Deeds office pays the fee and it is a tax on low-income buyers in which higher-income buyers don’t pay their share (those who pay cash). Opponents of the bill, a majority of county officials throughout the state, contend revenue generated from mortgage filings is essential to county budgets and the bill will most likely result in higher property taxes.

After listening to testimony from both sides, I had the opportunity to visit with conferees. There are people on each side of the issue who are willing to work on possible amendments to the bill.

A chart containing property tax information was handed out during the hearing. If you would like to see the information about property taxes through the past 15 years for counties in the 12th District, email me at Caryn.Tyson@senate.ks.gov

During testimony of Senate Bill 264, which would require storm shelters as a part of certain school construction projects, the committee was told that if a school issues a bond to build a storm shelter, the school district cannot qualify for federal funding in building that shelter. SB 264 would require a storm shelter be included on construction of a new building not used for extracurricular activities or any remodeling that costs 50 percent or more of the insured value of an existing building.  

These bills recently were introduced and have many steps to pass before either would become law.

Often, I have been asked about the Kansas Lottery money and where it goes. In 2013, the Lottery had $244.8 million in sales. The Kansas Lottery Act requires at least 45 percent of the total sales be paid back through prizes. Last year, the Lottery paid out 56.6 percent in prizes. About $24.5 million of the $244.8 million was put into the state general fund. Because of the this, some of the lottery money goes to education. However, a larger portion goes to overhead, economic development and correctional facilities. Last year, the Kansas Lottery in its regular lottery program spent $4.1 million on advertising.     

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District state senator.

Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, represents Franklin County and the 12th District in the Kansas Senate. Email her at Caryn.Tyson@senate.ks.gov or call (785) 296-6838.

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