BUDGET MATTERS DOMINATE AT CAPITOL
The highlight of the first week of the 2017 Kansas legislative session was the unveiling of Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for balancing the current state fiscal year budget. Brownback also outlined his 2018 and 2019 budget proposals. State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan, in his presentation to legislative committees last week, told lawmakers the energy and agriculture sectors are contributing to the weak growth of tax receipts and are partly to blame for the $350 million shortfall in the current budget. Sullivan cited a Kansas Department of Agriculture study showing for every 1% decrease in agriculture prices, there is a corresponding $7.7 million decrease in sales tax receipts.
Brownback’s proposed changes for funding the 2017 budget include a seven-year loan from the state’s Pooled Money Investment Board, reductions in payments for K-12 education, reductions in transfers to the state highway fund and other one-time adjustments.
For the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the governor suggested new taxes on passive income, including rents and royalties; an increase in the annual report filing fee from $40 to $200 for LLCs; and increases in tobacco and liquor taxes.
Legislators serving on appropriation committees will begin work on alternatives to the governor’s proposals. The 2017 Legislature is expected to vote on bills that would repeal the 2012 income tax exemption for LLCs, proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations.
KLA Communications Program Manager Scarlett Hagins says the Kansas Livestock Foundation recently made a donation to one local fire department for the key role it played during the Anderson Creek Fire last spring.