First of all, I would like to thank Kansas Farm Bureau for setting up the fifteen town hall meetings held in the 40th Senate district. Representative Adam Smith, Representative Ken Rahjes, Representative Barbara Wasinger, Representative Don Hineman and I were glad to hear from our constituents about their questions and concerns.
SB9 becomes law. The $115 million pays back a previously missed KPERS payment, bringing the funding ratio to the highest point it has been in 25 years. This is the first time in 25 years that we have made the actual required contribution. This payment will save the State of Kansas $630,000 per month and according to KPERS, the actuarial effect of repaying the contribution would be net savings of $186.1 million from all funds over 30 years.
Last week the House passed SB22. SB22 originally passed the Senate and was created in response to federal tax reform. The legislation was created to return the unexpected windfall from the Trump tax cuts back to taxpayers while allowing Kansans to deduct interest on their mortgage, property taxes and health care expenses through decoupling from federal law. For individuals-SB22 adjusts the Kansas tax code so that Kansans with itemized deductions that total between $7,000 and $24,000 can continue to itemize on their state income taxes even if they no longer itemize on their federal income taxes. Some middle-income tax filers might not itemize at the federal level this year due to recent changes Congress made to the federal tax code to raise the standard deduction. Without this bill, these middle-income tax filers would no longer be able to itemize at the state level triggering a higher state income tax liability for these families.
SB22 provides Kansas businesses with the full benefits of federal tax breaks on foreign income, allowing Kansas to remain competitive with neighboring states who have already done this. Right now, Kansas companies that do business outside the United States pay taxes on those profits at the federal level. Those profits are not taxed at the state level and never have been. Without this bill, these Kansas companies would be subjected to additional taxes at the state level, making Kansas a more expensive state for businesses to operate in. Kansas is only one of seven states that has not decoupled from the federal tax law.
The House added two amendments to SB22. They included a 1% reduction in the state’s 6.5% sales tax on food. The House also included an internet sales tax amendment that would require out-of-state online retailers to pay sales tax which they have not been required to do in the past. The Senate will have the opportunity to concur with the House’s adjustments or engage in compromises during conference committees.
SB32, the Farm Bureau Health Benefit plan passed out the House committee and will advance to the House floor for a full debate. I will keep everyone informed as this bill moves through the process.
Congratulations to the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team. It was a fun afternoon to cheer on the Lady Tigers for their first MIAA Tournament championship.
Thank you to those who stopped by my office last week to visit. It is always good to see constituents from the 40th Senate District.
I am honored and grateful to represent the 40th Senate District in Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact or call me with your questions and concerns, my office number is 785 296-7399 or my cell is 785 899-4700. If you are in Topeka stop by my office at 236-E.
Sen. Rick Billinger, R-Goodland, is the Kansas state senator for the 40th District, which includes Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Norton, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, Trego and Wallace counties as well as portions of Phillips County.