2013 Newsletter Header
August 28, 2013 - In This Issue:
Denning Official Senate Photo
  • Governor calls legislators back for Special Session -  September 3-5
    • This will be the 22nd Special Session since Kansas became a state. 
    • Cost of the Special Session is $30,000 per day - 165 legislators and very limited staff.
    • Last Special Session was 2005.
  • Jim Hinson is the new Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent.
    • I worked with Jim Hinson in Missouri when I was Chairman of the Independence Chamber of Commerce.  I'm looking forward to working with him in Kansas for our schools.
    • Sum up my description of Jim Hinson in three points:
      • He has vision
      • He is a leader
      • He always does what is best for the students

The Kansas Legislature completed its work for the 2013 session on June 2, 2013.  We returned home to our private sector jobs, families and communities.  The 2014 General Legislative Session starts back up in January 2014.  The Governor called us back for a Special Session running from September 3-5 to address a public safety issue.  We will focus on a bill rectifying constitutional conflicts in the state's "Hard 50" criminal sentencing law.


September 3 - 5

Preserve the "Hard 50" Punishment for Premeditated Murders

A United States Supreme Court ruling, referred to as the Alleyne Decision, is threatening to invalidate  the Kansas "Hard 50" punishment law.  When Kansas enacted a "Hard 40" sentencing law in 1990, the precursor to today's Hard 50 law, it used such a system where the jury that found a defendant guilty of first-degree murder would determine whether to impose a "Hard 40" sentence. The state later turned the decision of whether to impose "Hard 50" sentences over to judges rather than the Jury.  The Alleyne Decision says that increasing the sentence for a crime to the "Hard 50" must be made by a jury, not a judge.


There are approximately 30 cases state wide that could be impacted by the Alleyne Decision.  That is to say, criminals could be eligible for parole in 25 years, rather than 50 years.  Johnson County has three (3) cases and two (2) cases awaiting trial.


The criminals serving the Hard 50 sentences are among the worst murderers in the state.  They propose a serious threat to everyone if released.  The Governor called for the emergency Special Session to help insure the Hard 50 sentencing law can continue.  We want to ensure the Hard 50 sentencing rule can be used by prosecutors to protect Kansans.


Customer Service Enhancements

As the population grows in Johnson County the strains on the Driver's License office was felt by consumers-taxpayers and office staff.  Long wait times, being turned away at the door, appointment queue filled up by early morning, I could go on and on.  I worked hard over the summer with the Department of Revenue.  Secretary Jordan and Donna Shelite in the Kansas Department of Revenue met with me many times to discuss solutions for the busy Johnson County offices.


The table below shows the high growth in services being delivered by the Johnson County offices.



Through the first five (5) months of 2013 transactions increased 30% over prior year volumes.  Concealed Carry Permits continue to report high growth, with 2013 showing 125% growth over 2012.  These services are paid for by consumers in the form of fees.  For example, $16 for concealed carry license, $18-$30 for a driver's license.


Here are the initial customer service enhancements being rolled out.  More to come. 

  1. September 9, 2013.  Offices will be open on Mondays.  Being open Monday through Friday will be a 20% increase in office availability.
  2. Fall pilot program.  Offices will be open until 8pm Monday through Thursday.  This will be very consumer friendly.  Once the pilot launch date is announced we need to get the word out so it is successful and becomes permanent for Johnson County.

With the population growth in our county and new transaction services being handled by these offices, we need to provide the increased level of service we all want to offer Kansas' citizens.


Kansas has been working hard to improve the economy and job picture. We passed a two (2) year budget and a six (6) year tax plan.  Throughout the session we passed business friendly legislation to grow good jobs in Kansas. We have framed good policy to take advantage of an improving economic outlook.  The unemployment numbers continue to improve, albeit too slowly.  More workers in Kansas are returning to the job search ranks.  Jobs are still hard to land, but the unemployed are increasingly returning to looking for work and removing themselves from the "I give up column."  Unemployment remains stubbornly high.  However, Kansas and Johnson County in particular, are still in better shape than the U.S. average.  The following table illustrates the unemployment picture as of July 2013.



Johnson County unemployment rates generally run about 7/10 of a percentage point below the rest of the state.  This is an indication of the robust Johnson County economy when compared to the rest of the state.  Johnson County produces 50% of the population growth in Kansas and about 47% of the new job growth.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for the period from May 2012 to May 2013 total non-farm employment in the Kansas City, Kansas - Missouri statistical area (KC-MSA) rose 0.9 percent, or 9,500 jobs. All 9,500 jobs were on the Kansas side of the border. Missouri's number stood at zero.

A Look at the Impact of the Income Tax Cuts Effective January 1, 2013

Kansas had the largest personal income tax decrease in its history take eTaxesScrabbleffect on January 1, 2013.  The plan is to inject more business capital back into the economy to create more jobs, and leave more money in workers pockets to give them more consumption buying power.  The table below reflects the income tax decrease effective January 1, 2013.




The tax plan also called for a shift to consumption taxes and away from taxing productivity.  Effective July 1, 2013 the global sales tax was to roll back to 5.7% from 6.3%.  However, we only rolled the global sales tax back to 6.15%.  In addition, as part of legislation passed in 2010, Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) was to receive an additional 4/10% of sales tax effective July 1, 2013.  This is a bit complicated, but the table below should help understand the flow of sales tax into the Kansas Treasury and budget.  KDOT sales tax receipts are diverted directly to KDOT and do NOT get counted as Sales Tax collections.  Only the State General Fund (SGF) amounts get credited to the budget.  Got to love government accounting practices.




As a result of lowering the global sales tax to 6.15% on July 1, 2013 rather than letting it roll back to the scheduled 5.7%, the percentage going into the Kansas budget/SGF to pay for services and the income tax cuts is 5.1% rather than the scheduled 4.65%.  Thus, the shift to consumption taxes.   




It will take a couple of years for the tax and business regulatory polices to move the Kansas economy forward.  As the table above reflects, the sharp decreases in income taxes have not adversely affected the tax revenue cycle through the first 7 months of calendar year 2013.  Remember, income taxes were cut 24% effective January 1, 2013 and the effective sales tax rate for government budget uses decreased to 5.1% from 5.59%


Through the first seven months of 2013 ending July 31, tax collections are basically flat with last year. Individual income tax collections are down which was to be expected with a 24% decrease in rates.  Sales tax and Corporate taxes are up slightly.  The Department of Labor reports Kansas adding 23,300 new private sector jobs this year.  This compares favorably to Kansas losing private sector jobs over the previous decade prior to Governor Brownback being elected in 2010.

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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