2013 Newsletter Header
February 24, 2013 - In This Issue:
  • Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1608 amends Article 6, Section 6 of the Kansas Constitution by adding the following sentence: "The financing of the educational interests of the state is exclusively a legislative power."
  • Kansans should be allowed the final decision in determining how much the state spends on education.
  • SCR 1608 is not aimed at reducing education funding. After years of litigation, it's simply time to end the cycle by affirming the legislature's exclusive right to determine education finance. Voters deserve the ability to make that decision.
  • In addition to the Kansas Division of the Budget's projections, the Kaiser Family Foundation found the cost of Medicaid expansion over the next 10 years will cost the state $525M without the ACA.
  • I introduced three bills favorable to schools and teachers;
    • SB-131 allows schools more flexibility when spending their capital outlay funds.
    • SB-132 provides high growth school districts a soft landing when winding down tax levies to finance the schools.
    • SB-133 is a local activities budget option.

Let Kansans Decide Spending
School Books Apple

A few weeks back, I discussed SCR 1608 in my weekly newsletter. If you recall, it was introduced to give Kansas voters the final say as to who makes the spending and taxation decisions for the state. SCR 1608 proposes to amend Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution by adding the following sentence, "The financing of the educational interests of the state is exclusively a legislative power."


To be clear, SCR 1608 is not intended to reduce K-12 spending. I believe each Senator who supported SCR 1608 has no desire to harm education in Kansas; we have a duty to properly fund schools. But we also have a duty to support public safety, to provide for the developmentally and physically disabled, and to support higher education.  Since 1966 education funding has been in an unending cycle of litigation. Since 1966, there have been 7 major school finance law suits - Occurring once every 8 years.  Moreover, the last lawsuit known as the Montoy case the Kansas Supreme Court was negative to local option budget (LOB) funding.  LOB funding remains an important objective of Johnson County Schools to correct the bias the current funding formula has against our schools.  The litigation is costly and only contributes to education funding uncertainty. SCR 1608 aims to end the cycle of litigation and allows the people of Kansas
to decide whether the elected legislature or the courts should decide how much Kansas spends on education.


On Wednesday, the Senate spent a considerable amount of time debating this legislation. SCR 1608 passed by a vote of 27 to 13. It now goes to the Kansas House of Representatives for further consideration and debate. If approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, the question would appear on the earliest ballot possible, in August 2014. 

The Move to Zero Income Tax

On Wednesday, the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee amended HB 2059 to incorporate the provisions of SB 78 as previously amended by that Committee. The technical fixes sought by the Governor for tax provisions enacted in 2012 included in this bill would:


  • Repeal a requirement on taxpayers who are partners or Subchapter S corporation shareholders to compute a different adjusted basis for their partnership interests or Subchapter S stock for Kansas income tax purposes than they do for federal income tax purposes.
  • Clarify that for Kansas income tax purposes, the add back to federal adjusted gross income required of certain losses for Subchapter S corporations would not apply to those entities with wholly owned subsidiaries subject  to the financial institutions privilege tax.
  • Clarify the 50-barrel-per-day threshold enacted in 2012 relative to being excluded from the new pool severance tax exemption for oil and would be determined based on the initial six months of production from each well.


Along with the technical fixes originally contained in HB 2059, the contents of SB 78, having been amended into the bill, would freeze the current sales and use tax rate at 6.3 percent, repeal the mortgage interest deduction beginning in tax year 2013 and provide further income tax rate reductions through 2017.


The Senate plans to work HB 2059 within the next few weeks. This tax plan is the Governor's plan to move our state toward a fairer, flatter income tax code.

Mandate Lite Policy

SB 163, "Health Insurance, Mandate Lite Health Benefits Plan" (short title) passed in the Senate with bipartisan support; 38-Yes, 1-No, 1-Present.


The bill is on its way to the House. The legislators, both democrats and republicans, recognize the unintended consequences of the 3:1 age banding pricing in the Affordable Care Act. Without this mandate lite policy, Kansans under the age of 35 who purchase on the individual market, or work for an employer with less than 50 employees, could see a 50% rate increase.

Capitol Office

300 S.W. 10th Street, Room 541-E

Topeka, KS 66612




Overland Park
8416 W. 115th Street
Overland Park, KS 66210

Paid for by "Jim Denning for Kansas Senate"
Kathy Vance, Treasurer

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