LEGISLATURE APPROVES SALES TAX PROVISION FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY WILDFIRE
The 2016 Kansas legislative session adjourned about 3:30 a.m. Monday (5/2) morning after passing a budget. Terms of the compromise will allow Gov. Sam Brownback to reduce the state highway fund by an additional $70 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and $115 million in FY 2017; postpone nearly $100 million in Kansas Public Employee Retirement System payments; and make cuts between 3% and 5% per state agency to balance the 2016 fiscal year budget, which ends June 30, 2016. The budget, however, prohibits the governor from reducing funding for K-12 education.
During the final days of the session, lawmakers passed a tax package that included a one-year sales tax exemption for property and services purchased in 2016 that are necessary to construct, reconstruct, repair or replace fences damaged or destroyed by fire during the 2016 calendar year. Taxpayers may file for a sales tax refund after July 1, 2016, for purchases during the first half of this year. Sen. Steve Abrams of Arkansas City and Rep. Kyle Hoffman from Coldwater largely were responsible for convincing a conference committee to include this provision in the tax bill.
A compromise on a property tax lid, supported by KLA, also was reached between business interests and local units of government. The compromise would require city and county governments to seek approval of voters for budget increases in excess of the rate of inflation. Included in the compromise was an earlier effective date of 2017, but additional expenditures and revenue streams were made exempt from the cap compared to current law.
Prior to adjournment, the House and Senate also passed a KLA-supported bill that would reform regulatory procedures of the state’s threatened and endangered species act. Other bills approved during the veto session provide a penalty for failing to file annual water use reports, reclassify the chief engineer as a classified state employee and require greater public notice of applications and orders under the Kansas Water Appropriations Act.
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