Monthly Archives: January 2007
This session I am putting together a proposal that I think would be helpful to the constituents of my district and all of Kansas. They are seniors who are retired and unable to work, and yet their state tax load is too burdensome and they are facing difficult decisions. You can keep up on the progress on my bill at the Lawrence Journal-World by reading the article here.
New Times and Challenges for The Kansas Legislature
Happy New Year – I hope you and your loved ones have enjoyed the holidays! And as we move forward into the new year, it’s once again that time for the Kansas Legislature to convene in Topeka and work the will of the people.
The political landscape is much different now than the previous two terms. Back in January 2003, the state was in a financial freefall and had a projected FY 2003 general fund ending balance of only $12 million out of an approximately $5 billion budget. The K-12 school finance issue was also starting to heat up, and by the time January 2005 rolled around, the Kansas Supreme Court had ruled the state’s school finance formula unconstitutional. But what a difference a couple of years can make! Fast forward to 2007 – the state has a projected adjusted ending balance for the 2007 general fund budget of approximately $754 million, and the Montoy school finance case has been dismissed with schools appropriately funded through the 2008-2009 school year.
While K-12 education and the state’s financial health will not be as dominating as in past sessions, there are still plenty of other issues that will receive at least some attention by the Legislature this session. One item that should generate some lively discussion will be the estimated $727 million in deferred maintenance projects for the state’s public universities. There will undoubtedly be some rather lively discussions concerning which buildings the state will help out with and how much, and my guess is that the universities will have to beef up their own annual maintenance budgets going forward (i.e. – expect some sort of future tuition increases to provide for this). Another hot topic will be funding for Kansas’ next Comprehensive Highway Program; a key issue in this debate will be how much bonding the state should secure for funding the program. KPERS teachers retirement funding should figure into the mix. And finally, the state lottery is up for renewal this year as it is currently set to expire in 2008; expect several attempts by legislators to tack on pro-gaming amendments as the renewal legislation weaves its way through the state capitol building.
Given the FY 2007 state general fund’s adjusted ending balance of $754 million, you can also expect to see numerous tax relief bills introduced. I will be introducing legislation to establish a property tax deferral program for Kansas seniors meeting certain financial criteria (stay tuned for future details!). This legislation (or some form of it) should easily be signed into law as I have heard from several other legislators about their desires to likewise see something accomplished on this issue.
If you have a particular issue that you would like to see addressed, please let me know as soon as possible – it’s not too late to get some meaningful legislation introduced that can make a positive impact on our state. And once again, happy 2007 to you and your family! I hope the new year brings you good health, prosperity and humor.
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Thank you for letting me serve as your State Representative. I always appreciate knowing where you stand on the issues our state is currently facing. I can be reached at (785) 296-7656 (daytime) or (785) 865-2786 (evenings). My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you would like to be added to my e-mail newsletter mailing list, please send me your e-mail address.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to officials in Douglas County about what I saw being major issues in Topeka for the upcoming session, as well as what I plan to work on specifically. You can read more about my plans and what other area legislators had to say in the Lawrence Journal-World article here.