Where We Stand & Where I Stand
A little perspective on the current climate...  Before getting into the meat of this newsletter,  I would like to call your attention to how far the media has gone downhill. Most of the press, even in Kansas, seems more interested in creating controversies than it does in helping the public by exposing the facts to understand the issues.  I come across articles time and time again that leave out important information and/or spins a narrative to lead the reader to a false conclusion.  Of course, historically this has always been a concern, but it is far worse than it has been in the past.  I try to expose it when I come across it by posting it on my Facebook page and sometimes on Twitter if you would like to follow those posts.  This is a good editorial on where to get a variety of news in Kansas with different perspectives.
 
Friday, April 7th marked the end of the regular portion of the 2017 Legislative Session, and we now stand adjourned, working from home until Monday, May 1st. At that point, we will be in "veto session," but the prospects of a long session loom large given the major issues remain unresolved.

Taxes, school finance, and the Omnibus budget will be before us after we return, and those who favor higher taxes, more spending, and a return to the old school finance formula should be optimistic. Democrats are working with a large number of left-wing Republicans for control of both chambers, and some may be wondering why they haven't been able to quickly usher through what they want.
 
The answer to that question is twofold.  First, the presence of Governor Brownback necessitates the left corralling 84 votes in the House and 27 in the Senate to override a veto.  Also, it is likely they cannot yet agree on how big the budget and tax increases should be, given the school finance plan has yet to be determined. 
 
Some may also be wondering to what degree conservative legislators have any power.  In a perfect world, conservatives would be able to offer solutions that would be part of the discussion.  Unfortunately, political gamesmanship has been chosen over a real consideration of policy, as evidenced by this week's debate over taxes.
 
Below, I will provide a summary of where things stand on the major remaining issues, including my own take on what is likely to occur.
Taxes
 


You may have read in the media about proposals to create a flat tax in Kansas.  As you read these accounts, it is important to understand the facts, which is that the flat tax proposal, which may be good in theory, was a starting point for larger discussions over the appropriate tax policy in Kansas.  Unfortunately, the left-wing coalition opted to play more political games rather than participate in reducing overall taxes to improve the legislation and get us closer to a resolution on the issue.

Here is the story:

On Thursday, the Kansas Senate took up SB 214, a proposal which would move Kansas to a flat tax of 4.6%, while raising standard deductions and lowering the food sales tax rate to 5.5%.  The bill eliminated the exemption from LLCs and was something Governor Brownback said he would sign into law.  It was meant by the drafters to be a compromise solution and a way to ensure no one group would have to shoulder a massive tax increase.

The bill provided a solid foundation to begin moving towards tax policy that was broad-based, fair, and flat.  A flat tax is appealing to many due to its inherent fairness - it has the same impact on everyone who pays the tax by taking the same percentage of their taxable income.  Progressive taxation, in contrast, forces some people to give more of their time and freedom to the state than others. Currently, eight states use a flat tax, and nine additional states tax 0% on traditional individual income.  
 
However, the bill was not perfect, as it increased rates on those currently paying 2.7%. Because this would have had a disproportionate impact on the poor and would have raised taxes, I offered an amendment to completely eliminate the food sales tax, which would have had a real and positive impact on low to middle income families.  Unfortunately, that amendment failed. 

After it was clear it would be difficult to amend the bill on the floor, I joined with my other conservative colleagues in voting for a motion to send the bill back to committee for more work.  The structure of the bill was sound, but we needed to adjust it, not kill it.

This is where the political games became evident.  To use a baseball analogy, it was a triple play:   

First, rather than working with conservatives to improve the bill and send it back to committee, a left-wing coalition voted 25-15 against that motion.  The failed motion kept the bill on the floor. 

Second, the coalition then voted to recommend the bill favorably for passage, which is the vote necessary to take the bill to Final Action.  This was a voice vote, but likely the same vote as above, 25-15.

Third, the same coalition then immediately voted against it on Final Action, where the bill lost 37-3.  The lopsided margin was due to two factors -conservatives voted against it because it needed more improvement, and the left voted against it (after having voted for it moments earlier).  It was an overtly political scheme to embarrass the governor and those who had championed the idea of a flat tax. 

Now we are back to square one, which means the left-wing coalition will need to come up with a tax scheme to pay for their previously-passed budget that spent $283 million more than the state currently has. With the school finance bill looming, that number will likely double.  They will claim that we must raise taxes - when in reality we should not be increasing taxes or spending, but rather simply balancing the budget through spending reductions.
 
In the end, a tax increase of some kind will likely pass.  The coalition I mentioned is determined to get their way even if the facts show that would not be wise.  The small business exemption is probably not going to be saved, despite the record number of business startups in 2016 with jobs on the uptick.  Individual tax rates will likely go up, the only question is how much, and how many brackets will be created?

Remember, the bill that was vetoed in February was only three votes shy of becoming law, and many are predicting they will tweak that bill slightly and try it again. However, even that massive tax increase didn't raise enough revenue to pay for all the new spending they have allocated, so taxes could even be higher.

I will continue to advocate for conservative principles and keeping tax rates as low as possible.  

Medicaid Expansion

I want to start with the best news out of the gate, and that is the defeat of the effort to expand ObamaCare Medicaid in Kansas. As you might recall, the House and Senate had both passed HB 2044, the bill to expand Medicaid, but that bill was vetoed by Governor Brownback.  After a delaying tactic by the House to secure more votes over the weekend, the motion to override was again made last Monday, but failed 81-44. They needed 84 votes for it to pass.  This meant the Senate did not need to consider the override and likely killed the issue for this session.
 
Much like the previous debate about taxes, Obamacare Medicaid expansion legislation demonstrated the makeup of each chamber.  On the best day, conservatives are working with moderate Republicans to cling onto enough votes to sustain vetoes.  Just a few more votes, and the tax and spend coalition can defeat us.
 
I was alarmed to receive a message by a good friend who thought a single-payer system would be best, touting Medicare as a "success."  However, Medicare is not a success, and far from it.  It is popular, because current beneficiaries receive much more than what they paid in.  But we can't ignore Medicare is approximately $58 trillion in the red, totaling all projected future liabilities, and it will be a huge debt burden to future generations. It is not sustainable without reform.
 
It would be utopia if we could get everything we wanted from health care - the highest quality care for everyone, with no waiting, with any doctor we choose and at a cost we think we can afford, maybe even free.  Of course, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurers and trial lawyers want to receive as much money as possible for their services.  Over the years, because of government inserting itself into the system, nobody is happy.  There is no free exchange, waits are longer, choice has become limited and costs have skyrocketed.  Those seeking more for their services have been cut off by government while the bureaucracy is extracting more and more dollars from the system with no benefit to the patient. This is not only frustrating, but is a genuine quality of life and death concern. I will discuss positive alternatives in a future newsletter.
 
Meanwhile, it is likely that proponents of ObamaCare Medicaid expansion will probably return next session with another attempt to pass a bill. We must continue to resist this effort, as doing so would expand the welfare state by placing able-bodied adults in front of the line over those who truly need Medicaid, such as the elderly in nursing homes, the disabled, poor children and pregnant women.
 
Here are two great articles discussing the issue:

TAXPAYERS AND THE TRULY NEEDY WILL  PAY THE PRICE
https://thefga.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ObamaCare-Enrollment-is-Shattering-Projections.pdf

Kansas Should Avoid The Medicaid Expansion Trap
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2017/02/08/kansas-should-continue-its-obamacare-medicaid-expansion-holdout/#590d10b746ea

Regarding the broader issue of ObamaCare, this is a long, but excellent article .
It gives the history behind the health care / health insurance industry in our country, and how different actions have caused health care costs to skyrocket. The author touches on Medicaid and how Medicaid expansion makes the problem worse. Finally, the author gives thoughtful recommendations about how to move forward. This is an article you won't want to miss.


School Finance


Years ago, in 1992, a school finance formula was created which took a large share of education dollars from Johnson County to distribute to the rest of the state.  As a result, there has been 25 years of litigation with caps on local control and an equalization formula that does not allow citizens in Johnson County to spend their own money on their own schools. You might recall that two years ago, Kansas legislators spent much time and energy on repealing the formula, which was a confusing morass of weightings, impossible for anyone to figure out unless it was their full-time job.

In its place, a two-year system of block grants was implemented, and now the court has ordered the Legislature to adopt a new school finance formula to begin in July.  The proposals introduced so far are rebuilding the old finance formula that caused so many problems to begin with!
 
In the Senate, the special Committee on Education Finance Chairman Jim Denning has stated that his committee will not craft a funding plan. They will instead wait for the House bill to be passed and work from it.

In the House, the K-12 Budget Committee has amended the committee education bill, HB 2410, but has yet to pass the bill out. With the amendments, the bill ballooned up to nearly $750 million over five years.  Here is the list of items in the bill: 
 
  • Renames base state aid per pupil (BSAPP) to "foundation state aid per pupil" and sets it at $4,006 for FY 2017-18; $4,206 in FY 2018-19; $4,406 in FY 2019-20; $4,606 in 2020-21 and $4,806 in $2021-22.

  • Automatic increase for Foundation aid each year based on the Midwest Consumer Price Index.

  • Fully funds all-day kindergarten.

  • Adds $2 million for at-risk four-year-old pre-school.

  • Adds $1.7 million for professional development aid.

  • Adds $800,000 for mentor teacher state aid.

  • Yearly report required by the State Board on its school accreditation system.

  • Over the first nine years Legislative Post Audit is to conduct performance audits on various aspects of this act, which will replace annual efficiency audits. LPA is to study the cost of providing educational opportunities for every student to meet performance standards in FY 2019, 2022 and 2025.

  • Removed provisions in original 2410 that limited high-density at-risk. Now the bill provides regular at-risk weighting is based on number of free lunch students, multiplied by 0.456, which is the same as previous formula.

  • Districts with less than 10% of students on free meals receive at-risk funding as if 10% of students are eligible. Documentation to the State Board is required to show that services were provided to at-risk students.

  • Provides for high density at-risk as under previous formula.

  • Removes 5-year bilingual weighting limit in original bill.

  • Bilingual weighting calculated by either:
     
  • Contact hours of students in bilingual programs multiplied by 0.361- currently at 0.395.
  • Headcount of students who quality for bilingual services multiplied by 0.185. Original bill provided 0.1 weighting for headcount.
  • School will receive funding for the greater calculation. 
  • Transportation weighting fixes "math error" in previous formula with the increased cost factor at 2.8, up from 2.0. If less than what the district received in 2016-17, than they will be held harmless and given the 2016-17 amount of funding.
  • Career Tech Ed/ vocational weighting unchanged from previous formula.
     
  • State Board must conduct a study of the cost of providing career education and make report to Legislature January 2018.
     
  • Restores low and high enrollment weighting from the previous formula. Original 2410 reduced weightings.
     
  • Virtual school state aid continues the same as in current law: full-time students multiplied by $5,000; part-time students by $1,700 and adult students by $709 per course.
     
  • Continues new facilities weighting for bond issues approved before July 1, 2015. Phases out all projects after that date.
     
  • Ancillary school facilities weighting and cost of living weighting are continued as was under the previous formula. To be funded by local property taxes with approval of state board of tax appeals.
     
  • Declining enrollment weighting set at 50% of the previous formula for FY 18. Eliminated after FY 2018.
     
  • Both capital outlay and bond and interest aid are continued, except that for districts with less than 260 students. For those districts, State Board approval will be required to receive state aid to construct new facilities.
     
  • Capital outlay fund expanded to include utilities.
     
  • Enrollment on single count date, Sept. 20, of the prior year or second preceding year, whichever is higher. Allows for net increase in military students between Sept. 20 and Feb. 20.
     
  • Eliminates the three-year average.
     
  • Restores incentive provision from previous formula that allows consolidating districts to retain their previous higher budget for a limited time.
     
  • Returns to structure of the previous Local Option Budget, up to 33% of base. Renames LOB "Local Foundation Budget."
     
  • Artificial base for LFB set at $4,490 until actual base reaches that level. Over 30% is subject to protest petition.
     
  • A three-year average of assessed valuation per pupil for determining LFB and capital outlay state aid.
     
  • Removes non-resident virtual students from count for determining assessed evaluation per pupil for purposes of LFB and capital outlay state aid.
     
  • Removed the expansion of the tax credit for low-income private school scholarship program contained in the original bill.
     
  • Expands the eligibility of students from those attending public schools designed as Priority or Focus schools to those attending public schools ranked in the lowest quartile for student achievement.
     
  • Students must be direct certified under the national student lunch program, rather than being eligible for free meals due to income alone to be eligible for the program.
     
  • New private schools participating must be State Board accredited and have a postsecondary effective rate that exceeds the trend line for all school districts and accredited non-public schools, or have a composite ACT score that exceeds the state average, or have been a participating school in the past.
Are you confused yet?!   This is the new formula that is making its way through the process.  As you can see, this bill has many problems - beginning with the spending, but also the removal of school choice provisions, in addition to resuming the confusing weightings that plagued the old formula.

This is not the answer.  When it comes to the Senate, it is my hope we can make major adjustments.


Simon's Law

In better news, I am pleased to report that Simon's Law has been signed into law, and I was honored to participate in a bill signing ceremony last week.  Here is a press release that the Truth Caucus issued afterwards that explains the bill and contains a quote from me:

Simon's Law Signed by Governor Brownback
The Kansas Truth Caucus released the following statement after the signing of Simon's Law.
 
Simon's Law will prohibit a hospital or physician from placing a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) order on a child under the age of 18, without parental consent. Simon's Law is named in honor of Simon Crosier whose life ended tragically when life-saving measures were withheld from him due to a DNAR order secretly placed in his file. Simon had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18, which led to the hospital placing the DNAR without parental consent.
 
Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook said, "Simon's Law is a critically important piece of legislation to protect all children like Simon with severe disabilities from facing a similar tragedy." Pilcher-Cook continued, "No other family should ever face the horrifying possibility that an unauthorized DNAR was placed on their child's medical chart without their knowledge or consent. Simon's Law is a huge step in the protection of the unalienable rights of parents to be in control of their children's healthcare."
 
Representative Chuck Weber stated, "The Kansas Truth Caucus is proud to support Simon's Law. It is unconscionable to think that a parent's wishes would ever be disregarded in the life and death decisions of their children. The protections put in place by Simon's Law will ensure all parents remain in control of their children's healthcare decisions."


Rescission Bill

If there is any one piece of legislation that underscores this session it is the Rescission Bill, which I have mentioned in a previous newsletter.  The bill was not a real cut at all, but actually increased spending.

Unfortunately, last week, the House, with a vote of 108-15, and the Senate, with a vote of 30-10, passed the Conference Committee Report for the FY 2017 "Rescission" bill, Sub. HB 2052. 

Language included a blank check provision that grants permission to transfer funding from the Pooled Money Investment Board in an amount unspecified, but estimated to be around $290 million, that guarantees a $50.0 million ending balance in FY 2017. The bill also authorizes the remainder to be transferred in FY 2018.
 
A "rescission bill" is a bill that only rescinds, or withdraws, budget authority. This bill uses one-time money and delayed payments to close the gap in the FY 2017 and actually increases spending.  We should call it what it is: a supplemental appropriation bill.
 
The Kansas Truth Caucus sent out the following press release after the passage of the "rescission" bill in the Senate:
 
SENATE LEADERSHIP PUSHES FAUX RESCISSION BILL
Chairman of Ways & Means Previously Called Components a "Pay Day Loan" Fix.
 
TOPEKA: The Kansas Truth Caucus released the following statement after the Senate Leadership "Rescission" bill, HB 2052, passed out of the Senate with one-time money from the Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) and delayed KPERS payments as to balance the FY 2017 budget.
 
Senate Ways and Means Chairman Carolyn McGinn has previously referred to delaying KPERS payments and the use of one-time money PMIB funds as akin to a " pay-day loan ," saying it looks like " we are borrowing against ourselves...it's just going to put us further away from where we need to get to ."
 
When the administration proposed using PMIB funds the Senate Leadership decried the use of one-time money saying, " we cannot kick this can down the road any longer. " Continuing, " the solution will require a combination of cuts and changes to tax policy ," and pointing to " a sustainable solution for all Kansans ."
 
Kansas Truth Caucus Leader, Sen. Ty Masterson said, "Just a few short months ago, Senate Ways and Means Chairman McGinn denounced the use of the PMIB as one-time money, likening it to a "pay-day loan" and saying it was "just going to put us further away from where we need to get to." The Senate leadership released a statement at the same time saying, "a combination of cuts and changes to tax policy," were needed to address the budget woes. Also saying, "we cannot kick this can down the road any longer." I would ask Senate Leadership, "what has changed?" The "rescission" bill passed today is indeed just kicking the can down the road. This is not a sustainable solution for Kansas, it fails to address the core issue, which is simply government spends too much."
 
Masterson continued, "Last week this same Leadership brought the FY 2018 and FY 2019 budget bill to the floor, which increased spending by well over $250 million. It is patently irresponsible to commit to new spending at a time when the deficit has yet to be addressed. This spend-it-before-you-have-it budgeting does nothing more than force a massive tax increase on the people of Kansas. The Kansas Truth Caucus calls on Senate Leadership to end the fiscal insanity and bring forth a budget that ends the state's out of control government spending spree."



List of Bills
 


Below is a list of bills we voted on this week.  I voted yes, except where indicated.

House Substitute for SB 13 - "Uncorked"
 
On Friday, the Senate debated House Sub SB 13, a bill commonly referred to as the "Uncorked" bill. For the past 10 years, grocery stores and liquor stores have been working toward an agreement regarding liquor sales in Kansas, and this year, they've reached a compromise.
 
House Sub SB 13 permits liquor stores to sell all current beer, wine and spirits plus cereal malt beverages and non-alcoholic products up to 20 percent of gross sales, and may also sell tobacco and lottery tickets. In exchange, grocery and convenience stores will be allowed to sell beer up to 6.0 percent alcohol by volume, up from current law which only allows grocery and convenience stores to sell cereal malt beverages (3.2 alcohol by weight).
 
Industry negotiators believe that House Sub SB 13 represents an appropriate response to the changing adult beverage market in the country. Proponents of this legislation include: Kansas Association for Responsible Liquor Laws, Uncork Kansas, Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers, Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association, Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors.
 
House Substitute for SB 13 passed the Senate 27-11.  I am pleased with this compromise so I voted Yes.

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS
 
FORFEITED BENEFIT UNITS OF RURAL WATER DISTRICTS ( HB 2080 ): HB 2080 requires boards of rural water districts to reinstate any benefit unit that has been forfeited due to delinquent payments upon payment of all unpaid fees and charges due to the district. The bill would also clarify that any individual, firm, partnership, association, or corporation that is a participating member of the rural water district would be eligible to hold office as a director on the board of a rural water district.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 40-0.  I voted Yes.
 
SPECIAL VEHICLE PERMIT FOR CERTAIN VEHICLE COMBINATIONS ( HB 2095 ): HB 2095 authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to issue an annual overweight divisible load operating permit for a semitrailer combination vehicle and a semitrailer, with a gross vehicle weight of more than 85,500 pounds but not more than 90,000 pounds transporting divisible loads on 6 or more axles. The permit would be with respect to highways under the Secretary's jurisdiction, including city connecting links. The fee for the annual permit would be $200, and collected fees would be deposited into the State Highway Fund. No single-trip permits would be issued. The bill would require the permit be carried in the vehicle when it is operated.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 38-2.  I voted Yes.
 
ADVANCED BALLOTS AND POLLING PLACES ( HB 2158 ): HB 2158 revises deadlines regarding advance voting ballots and modifies law concerning the notice of polling places.

The bill would also prohibit a county election officer from changing a polling place prior to an election without providing mailed notice at least 30 days prior to the election. A waiver from this requirement would be authorized if the county election officer declares an emergency.

Finally, the bill would require the Secretary of State to issue a press release and post a notice on the Secretary of State's website notifying the public whenever the online voter registration website is unavailable for a period of 24 hours or more.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 40-0. I voted Yes.
 
BICYCLES REAR LAMP AND REFLECTOR ( HB 2170 ); HB 2170 gives the option for a bicycle in use between sunrise and sunset to be equipped on the rear with a red reflector visible from 100 feet to 600 feet, a lamp that emits a red light visible from 500 feet, or the operator wear a device that emits a red or amber light visible from 500 feet. Current law requires both a reflector and a red light visible from the rear and a lamp on the front emitting white light.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 40-0. I voted Yes.
 
FEE SCHEDULE IN KANSAS PRIVATE AND OUT-OF-STATE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION INSTITUTION ACT ( HB 2213 ): HB 2213 extends the sunset of June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2018 authorizing the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to fix, charge, and collect fees for such institutions in the Kansas Private and Out-of-State Postsecondary Educational Institution Act.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 39-1.  I voted No. This allows KBOR to increase spending and charge it to other institutions.
 
KANCARE PROCESS AND CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS ( S Sub. for HB 2026 ): Senate Sub. for HB 2026 changes the Kansas Program of Medical Assistance (KPMA) by amending law and creating in law processes for managed care organizations (MCOs) providing Medicaid services and also creates an external independent third-party review process.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 37-3. I voted No. While this bill in conference received much needed changes and made it more feasible, it will still create unnecessary bureaucracy and spend funds that could otherwise be used for Medicaid patients.
 
TRANSIT BUSES IN WYANDOTTE COUNTY ( HB 2096 ):HB 2096 allows the Secretary of Transportation to authorize operation of transit buses on the right shoulders of state highways in Wyandotte County. The bill would replace the reporting requirement in current law with a requirement the Secretary and persons designated by the boards of commissioners of Johnson and Wyandotte counties report to the Legislature on the implementation and operation of the program on or before March 1 in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 37-1.  I Voted No. I also voted no for this legislation in Johnson County.  The right shoulders of state highways should be reserved for emergencies only.
 
WATER CONSERVATION AREA FINDINGS, NOTICE AND MANAGEMENT PLANS ( SB 46 ): SB 46 makes changes to law pertaining to a water right holder's options for remedy of a water impairment and the administrative procedure available to a water right holder. Additionally, the bill would make changes to law as it relates to water conservation areas (WCAs).
Conference Committee Report was adopted by a vote of 38-0. I Voted Yes.

CONCURS
SB 20 - amends the Kansas Banking Code and amendments to three acts subject to the oversight of the State Bank Commissioner - the Kansas Money Transmitter Act, the Kansas Mortgage Business Act, and the Kansas Credit Services Organization Act. Senate concurred in House amendments 36-4. I voted No. This bill created more tax credits.
 
SB 51 - expands the authority of the State Board of Pharmacy to allow greater flexibility in the emergency scheduling of controlled substance analogs and new drugs, and amend the duration of temporary scheduling by the Board. Senate concurred in House amendments 40-0. I voted Yes.
 
SB 65 - amends law relating to the disposition of alcoholic liquors pledged as collateral for a loan. Senate concurred in House amendments 40-0. I voted Yes.
 
SB 50 - creates an unconscionable act or practice under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act related to the unauthorized practice of law and amends law regarding membership of the Advisory Committee to the Kansas Commission on Interstate Cooperation and the Joint Committee on Special Claims Against the State. Senate concurred in House amendments 38-0. I voted Yes.
 
SB 124 - replaces the requirement for a court to consider, among other relevant factors, evidence of "spousal abuse," either emotional or physical, with a requirement to consider evidence of domestic abuse. The bill would also adjust the law to require courts to determine parenting time in accordance with the best interests of the child. Senate concurred in House amendments 38-0.  I voted Yes.  I was the sponsor and testified for this bill, although I introduced it as a committee bill.
 
House Sub for SB 70 - enacts law and revises the Kansas Amusement Ride Act and the Amusement Ride Insurance Act by addressing or making changes related to permitting, registration, moneys collected, injury reporting, death of patrons, insurance, definitions, qualified inspectors, inspections, records, standards, testing, violations, and rule and regulation authority. Senate concurred in House amendments 35-2.  I passed on this legislation as I think it should have had more work.  It was rushed through the legislative process and is likely to have unintended consequences for family-owned carnival and fair equipment that is often used in rural Kansas.
 



Helpful Information

Tax Assistance

Tax phone lines are open until 6:30 p.m., April 6th, to help answer Kansans' questions
 
TOPEKA - The Kansas Department of Revenue is dedicating additional staff to answer phones and keeping the lines open later on Thursday April 6 to help Kansans with questions about their 2016 individual income tax returns.

As in prior years, the department will also have phone lines for its Electronic Services Unit open late on tax day, April 18, to help people with questions about KS WebFile, the state's free online income tax filing program, or other electronic return questions.

Phone lines will be open until 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 6.  For assistance people should call:

  • For tax-related questions, contact the customer service line at 785-368-8222, option 4 then option 1
  • For technical questions, contact Electronic Services Help at 785-296-6993

If customers simply need to check on the status of their refund, they can do so online any time at 
www.ksrevenue.org/RefundStatus   or by calling 1-800-894-0318 to connect to the department's automated refund status line.

To ensure taxpayer confidentiality and accuracy, people should have their most current tax information available when they call.

Learning Express

Learning Express
 is an online, easy to use resource that allows you to learn at a convenient time and place. Learning Express has some great tutorials for occupational exams. Clicking 'Career Center' gives you the option of exploring careers in different fields and preparing for an occupational exam. Careers range from allied health focusing on dental assistant, pharmacy technician, and physical therapist- to name a few, commercial driver's license, cosmetology, EMS, firefighters, law enforcement, nursing, real estate, and more. Creating your own username and password to save your work is necessary to use this resource.
 
If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas.  Most people will be automatically recognized as inside Kansas and will not need this step.   Questions:  kslc@library.ks.gov   or 785-296-3296.
 

Quote of the Week

This will be a new feature in my newsletter.  Here's the first:

"Profits and losses direct business investment toward projects that promote economic progress and away from those that squander scarce resources."
- James 
GwartneyCommon Sense Economics
In Conclusion

As I noted, we will return to Topeka on May 1st, but the work continues at home the next three weeks, as I catch up on constituent meetings, correspondence, and do research in preparation for the veto session.

It is an honor to serve you in Topeka. 

Thank you.

In honor of your liberty,

Mary Pilcher-Cook 
Paid for by Pilcher Cook Senate Campiagn ; Sheila Wodtke, Treasurer
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