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Monday, February 5, 2018

Legislative Update 2018 Session – Week Four

By State Senator Caryn Tyson

State Senator Caryn Tyson
Sales Tax On Food – According to TaxJar.com, Kansas is one of six states that does not lower sales tax on groceries.  The Senate Tax Committee heard testimony on a constitutional amendment to lower sales tax on food.  There were more questions than answers.  What is the definition of food?  Would it include processed foods and/or restaurant purchases?  How will the decreased revenues impact the state budget?  The Kansas Association of School Boards testified that they were concerned the decreased sales tax could negatively impact K-12 funding, even though the schools do not pay sales tax on food.  We also heard testimony from an economist at Wichita State University that for every 1% increase in sales tax, border counties lose approximately 9% in sales.  Missouri and Oklahoma have a lower sales tax on food than Kansas.  Colorado and Nebraska do not have sales tax on food.
 
Kansas tax collection up – January tax receipts were $165 million over estimates.  According to the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR), tax collection is just over $248 million over estimates for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (which began July 1, 2017).  KDOR reported that the Federal tax changes in late 2017 have influenced Kansas tax receipts for December and January.  Apparently, taxpayers filed early to take advantage of deductions that will not be allowed in tax-year 2018.  It should be acknowledged that the increase could be in part due to the massive retroactive income tax increase Kansas passed last year.  Tax collections have exceeded estimates each month since the tax increase. 
 
Honoring President Eisenhower on Capital Grounds –The Senate passed legislation to honor a Kansas favorite son.  The bill will allow a statue of President Eisenhower to be placed on the northwest quadrant of the Capitol grounds.  No public funds would be used for constructing the statue or pedestal.  The statue will be a replica of the statue that currently resides in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.  The bill passed 39 to 0. 
 
One of President Eisenhower’s many accomplishments was signing an act that created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and equipped the United States to become a leader in the space age.  It was an honor to cast the vote recognizing our 34th President and was special for me because I worked at NASA on space shuttle support.      
 
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem - and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?”  That is the standard every legislator should ask themselves.  God Bless Kansas and God Bless America!
 
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.                                                   Caryn

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