Tuesday, September 02, 2014

TYSON: Back for Legislature’s veto session

By CARYN TYSON, Kansas State Senator | 5/22/2013

The Kansas Legislature began its veto session May 8. This time is supposed to be when members of the Legislature work on bills that have been vetoed by the governor, but instead it has turned into a “second” session.

• One of the bills passed in veto session that is expected to be signed into law is House Bill 2162. The bill strengthens our Second Amendment rights by not allowing taxpayer dollars to be used to lobby for gun control. The vote was 31-6.

The Kansas Legislature began its veto session May 8. This time is supposed to be when members of the Legislature work on bills that have been vetoed by the governor, but instead it has turned into a “second” session.

• One of the bills passed in veto session that is expected to be signed into law is House Bill 2162. The bill strengthens our Second Amendment rights by not allowing taxpayer dollars to be used to lobby for gun control. The vote was 31-6.

• HB 2199 was several liquor bills rolled into one. Last year, state law was changed to allow liquor stores to give free samples. I voted against the bill when I was in the Kansas House — it was then referred to as the “mega liquor bill.” The legislation involved 11 bills that were rolled into one bill at the end of the session. Ten of the bills had never passed either the House or Senate. The Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) interpreted the law in a manner that would not allow anything to be added to the samples, therefore a person would be taking a straight shot of liquor. The bill we passed this year — HB 2199 — will allow ice, water and other items to be added to the sample. The bill also requires ABC to issue a fine within 90 days of issuing a citation. ABC now may issue a citation and a business might not receive a fine for 11 months or longer. The bill passed the Senate on a 39-0 vote.

• HB 2249 removes the Historic Preservation limit of 500 feet for property within city limits and 1,000 feet for rural land. If you previously were a property owner within the defined range of a Historic Preservation property, you were required to get permission to make changes to your property, even though your property was not in the program. HB 2249 reduces the burden of government by allowing property owners the freedom to make changes to their property when it borders a Historic Preservation property. I voted “yes” and the bill passed the chamber on a 29-10 vote.

• Budget and tax negotiations continue. The decisions being made are critical and could impact Kansans for years to come. It is important that we have accurate information and are working from a common set of assumptions. The previous projections were based on an average 5-percent growth for the state. This was concerning to me because the Legislature always has used an average of 4 percent and the number should be revisited as a result of the tax bill passed last year. By the end of the week, it appeared both chambers have agreed to use 4 percent.

The House made an offer of a 6 percent sales tax. The current sales tax is at 6.3 percent and is to sunset to 5.7 percent. Because of the aggressive income tax package that we passed last year when I was in the Kansas House, the Senate now has taken a position to keep the 6.3 percent sales tax and use it to “buy down” income tax. The House’s 6 percent offer would require the income tax cut passed last year to be less of a cut by decreasing the standard deductions. The Legislature increased standard deductions to $4,500 for individuals, $9,000 for married filing jointly, and $9,000 for head of household. These are considerable tax cuts and are a step in the direction toward keeping more money in your pocket. If the House’s offer is passed, the sales tax would be at 6 percent, while the standard deduction would be $6,500 for married and $5,000 for head of household.

The difference between the Kansas Senate and House tax plans on sales tax is 0.3 percent — a difference of 30 cents for every $100 you spend. However the difference on income tax is thousands of dollars in deductions and income tax cuts. While the end result has taken longer than hoped for this session, it’s worth the extra work to come out with a plan that will dictate the next decade of fiscal policy in Kansas.

 

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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