Budget, Taxes, and More

One thing I appreciate about working in the House of Representatives at the state level is we must “balance” the budget. What that’s meant the past days were many meetings and discussions on what specific ingredients will make for the right “recipe” to balance the budget.

So, here’s an update on that and other key issues from the week.

Budget and Taxes

This week the House debated tax policy both in committee and on the floor. Although there are no proposals that have yet gained the support of 63 members, the process and the discussions are underway in earnest, which is essential to balancing the budget and adjourning the session.

Discussions to find consensus will continue. The tax committee will work next week, and there will be more debates on the floor.

The process can be frustrating, but that does not change the fact that Republicans will continue to build consensus and find a solution that funds core state services while protecting the interests of taxpayers.

Uber Compromise

The House and Senate came to an agreement this week on a follow up transportation network bill that will ensure that drivers employed in the network are not felons, sexual predators, or have a history of drunken driving convictions, while also ensuring that the vehicles used in the network have proper insurance coverage.

The House will take up the compromise bill early next week.

Ride-sharing company Uber said they plan to reactivate their app in Kansas after the bill is signed in to law.

The previous transportation network bill, which was passed into law via a veto-override, provided the framework for the new bill and the ensuing negotiations.

Working After Retirement

The House adopted a conference committee report that will add stability to the state’s public pension system by allowing state retirees who want to go back to work for the state to “unretire.”

Essentially, the bill will end what’s sometimes referred to as “double dipping,” which is when a state worker is drawing both a pension and a salary from the state at the same time.

Under the bill, if a retiree wants to go back to work, they will still be eligible to draw their pension, but only once they stop working for the state.

The bill makes allowances for hardship exceptions to meet critical staffing needs.

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I would greatly appreciate your prayers for the coming week(s) as we work together in the Legislature to find the right “recipe” in the budget and one that’s best for Kansans moving forward.

All my best!

Randy