2013 Newsletter Header
January 20, 2014 - In This Issue:
Denning Official Senate Photo
  • Kansas Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop
    • Nov 2013 - 5.1%
    • Nov 2012 - 5.5%
  • 1,000 Private Sector Jobs Being Added Per Month
  • Kansas Produces 126,000 Barrels of Oil Per Day
    • Production growing at 6% annually
  • Kansas Personal Income Taxes Decreased January 1st
    • 2014 - Top Bracket 4.8%, Low Bracket 2.7%
    • 2013 - Top Bracket 4.9%, Low Bracket 3.0%
    • 2012 - Top Bracket 6.45%, Low Bracket 3.5%
  • JoCo Teacher Finalist for 2014 Teacher of the Year
    • Jennifer Smith
    • Lakewood Middle School, Blue Valley School District
State of the State Address
Governor Sam Brownback


The Governor gave his annual State of the State address to the Legislature on Wednesday evening, January 15th. The Governor reflected on the past challenges of the state and goals and objectives to continue to improve the state for all citizens.  Three years ago when he became Governor, Kansas state government was flat broke. We had begun the fiscal year with $876.05 in the bank. The state couldn't pay its bills on time.This was largely result of decades of overspending and unnecessary government growth. The 10 year period from December 2000 to December 2010, perhaps the largest period of economic expansion in the United States, Kansas actually lost private sector jobs. Since then, the legislature and the Governor have implemented policies to get people working again and restore fiscal discipline. We are creating jobs and building a skilled work force. Unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1% which is tied for tenth lowest in the country. Students enrolled in technical education courses has increased 75% in 2013 compared to 2011 levels. Kansas is now listed in the Top 10 best states to make a living and Top 10 for the lowest cost of living.

Committee Assignments
Topics and Budget

The 2014 Legislative session started Monday January 13th. My committee assignments remain the same for this session.


8:30 a.m.Commerce Committee
9:30 a.m.Financial Institutions and Insurance
10:30 a.m.Senate Ways & Means Committee, Vice Chair
1:30 p.m.Health Committee
2:30 p.m.On Senate Floor
4:30 p.m.Social Services Budget, Chair
This committee meets as needed.


Several important pieces of legislation will be addressed this year. The ones that come to mind are:

  1. The Governor is proposing to begin funding all-day kindergarten
  2. Restoring some of the reductions made to higher education
  3. Increasing spending by $2 million for Veteran services and Veteran's long term care
  4. Sort out K-12 public school funding following the expected Supreme Court ruling
  5. Change the structure of the States retirement program known as KPERs. Will modify the program for new hires to more align with the private sector plan designs
I will be sponsoring a bill this year to increase health care cost transparency for patients and doctors offices. The bill is Senate Bill 251. It is known as "Real Time Explanation of Benefits." In a nut shell, it will give patients and doctors offices the out of pocket amounts due from the patient prior to the patient receiving non-emergency services. With the high deductible and high out of pocket insurance plans being sold patients deserve to know what their out of pocket expenses will be. Right now, patients receive a surprise bill 30 days after receiving medical services. The bill will have a hearing on Wednesday January 22nd at 9:30am. Insurance Committee Room 546 S. Let me know if you want to testify in support. Patients and doctors offices support. The insurance industry is opposed. See full text of SB 251 clicking here.
Of course the budget, which is in the ONLY piece of legislation the legislature is required to complete per the Kansas Constitution remains the high priority. This work gets done mostly in Ways & Means and the sub budget committees. Kansas implemented a two year budget last session. Agencies and school districts have responded favorably to the two year budget process. It gives them more certainty and helps with their own planning. It is my understanding that the Governor will stay with the 2 year budget cycle.  The Kansas State General Fund (SGF) budget is around $6.2 billion dollars. The following graph shows where the money is being spent.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Economy Remains the Focus


The Kansas economy and job growth remain high priority. Following a decade of private sector job loss the Kansas economy is growing and adding jobs. The Kansas economy is adding over 1,000 jobs per month with almost 50% being produced by the Johnson County economic engine. With tax policy and business regulatory changes the economy is finally getting stronger. For the last three (3) years we have lowered taxes, reduced the cost and regulatory burden on businesses and made Kansas a business friendly state. Workers Compensation and Unemployment policies and funding have been reformed as well. The results are positive. The Kansas Gross State Product is projected to grow 2.6% in 2013 and 3.8% in 2014. If the head winds coming out of Washington subside, look for these numbers to be higher. Kansas Personal Income is projected to grow 2% in 2013 and 3.5% in 2014. The personal income tax cuts which started in January of 2013 have added over 1% to Kansas workers' pay checks. The 1% increase in paychecks adds up to $600 million annually into workers paychecks. All policies are rowing in the right direction for an improved economy and more jobs. The following graphs demonstrate the progress Kansas is making in growing jobs and the economy.







Capitol Office

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

Topeka, KS 66612




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


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