A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
Week Four -- February 10, 2019
So today, and every day, let us pray for the future of our country. Let us pray for the courage to pursue justice and the wisdom to forge peace. Let us pray for a future where every child has a warm, safe, and loving home. Let us come together for the good of our people, for the strength of our families, for the safety of our citizens, for the fulfillment of our deepest hopes and our highest potential. And let us always give thanks for the miracle of life, the majesty of creation, and the grace of Almighty God.”
- President Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast 
The Facts of the Matter is a feature in The Truth Report each week, highlighting important information, some of which is not always reported or emphasized in the mainstream press:

  • Jobs Could Leave Kansas if SB 22 Doesn’t Become Law. Changes in the federal tax law “also opened the door to companies paying higher state taxes in Kansas, unless lawmakers make some adjustments. Those higher state taxes could cause companies to underperform and spur them to relocate jobs and offices outside of the state, David Rankin, senior vice president of taxation and business development for Seaboard, told the Senate's Assessment and Taxation Committee.” Seaboard is a company located in Merriam. (Source)

  • Taxes Go Up if SB 22 Doesn’t Become Law. Kansans face an individual tax increase if SB 22, or a similar bill, doesn’t become law. The federal 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act provided an increased standard deduction at the federal level, which many Kansans will take advantage of. However, without the ability to continue to itemize at the state level, they will face an increase in state taxes. SB 22 fixes this problem, preventing an increase in taxes.  (Source)

  • Universities largely to blame for tuition hikes, not Legislature. The University of Kansas has the largest cost increase over the last fifteen years (76 percent versus inflation of 31 percent) and also has the highest cost per-student, at $14,039. KU spends 35 percent more per-student than K-State, which is the next highest cost per-student. K-State’s costs went up 51 percent over the last fifteen years, followed closely by Emporia State (45 percent) and Wichita State (43 percent). Pittsburg State increased education spending by 35 percent and Fort Hays State reduced per-student costs by 4 percent. (Source)
News & Views is a weekly collection of relevant news items and editorials regarding what's going on in Topeka and around the State of Kansas.
On Medicaid expansion, let’s start with the facts
By House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins ( Source)

In late January, House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins penned an editorial in the Wichita Eagle outlining important facts regarding Medicaid Expansion.   

Key Excerpt:
It’s important to look at what Medicaid expansion would actually do. Medicaid expansion provides taxpayer-funded health coverage to able-bodied adults between the ages of 19 and 64. These are predominantly childless adults in their prime working years. In fact, if they were to work at least 31 hours a week they would be eligible for Obamacare and would have no need for free health care from the state of Kansas. Vulnerable Kansans such as the elderly, low income parents, low income pregnant women, children in low income families, the disabled and many others are already covered. Medicaid expansion is a system that provides taxpayer funded healthcare to able bodied adults between the ages of 19 and 64, that is it!
Transparency Center: Follow the Kansas Legislature
You can view video streaming of both chambers via the Kansas Legislature YouTube page. In addition, many committees are now audio streamed. Finally, the Kansas Legislature website remains a great resource. Here are the relevant links:

YouTube Streaming:

Senate Adopts SB 22 to Prevent Tax Increase
On Thursday, the Kansas Senate adopted SB 22, which if enacted would stop a tax increase on Kansas families and businesses right at a time they are paying their taxes. The legislation, necessary in order to decouple the Kansas and federal tax codes, would ensure families are able to continue itemize on their state taxes and ensure jobs stay in Kansas. It’s important to remember that the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act was passed to provide more money into the pocketbooks of Americans and energize our economy by providing more capital for businesses to create jobs and grow. 

Put simply, it’s the people’s money, as the Truth Caucus said in a release prior to the vote:
Kansas Truth Caucus: It’s Your Money
The Kansas Truth Caucus, an organization of legislators in the Kansas House and Senate, today announced its support of SB 22 to ensure the benefits from the federal tax cut in 2017 are returned to where they belong - Kansas taxpayers. In a vote of its membership, the Truth Caucus supported the measure, which must pass for Kansans not to receive a tax increase.

Read the full release by clicking here .
Meeting Our Obligations: Senate Passes SB 9 
As noted last week, a large group of Republican Senators proposed to meet our obligations to retirees through SB 9, which would transfer $115.0 million from the State General Fund to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Fund. The payment in its entirety will be paid to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS)-School group. The payment would reduce the actuarial required contribution rate, improve the funded ratio of the KPERS-State/School group, and provide a net contribution savings.

The sponsoring Senators are Senators Alley, Baumgardner, Billinger, Braun, Denning, Estes, Goddard, Hilderbrand, Kerschen, Lynn, Masterson, Olson, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Rucker, Suellentrop, Tyson, and Wilborn.
This week, the Kansas Senate adopted the measure by a vote of 40-0.

Prior to the vote, the Kansas Truth Caucus adopted a stance in favor of the bill, and released the following statement:

Meeting our KPERS obligation is something we take seriously and it’s important we make our payments on time. When a payment is missed, it is incumbent upon us to restore that payment as soon as possible so it does not increase the debt that would have to be paid by Kansas taxpayers. Kansans across the state pay their bills, and they expect us to pay ours.

Read the full release by clicking here.
Governor Proposes Never-Ending Increases in Education Funding
The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance began hearings for SB 44, which contains the governor’s plan to spend several hundred million more on education over the next few years. The bill contains a system for automatic increases, tied to inflation, that would add $92 million per year to education, which is on top of the additional $949.4 million the Legislature previously promised K-12 through the year 2023. 

The Senate Education Committee will continue hearings for Senate Bill 44 on Tuesday, February 12 th at 1:30 pm. 
National Prayer Breakfast Held in Washington
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:12)

This week, the National Prayer Breakfast was held in Washington. As noted in this column by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE), “for 67 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has united nations, religions, ethnicities, and even political parties in a celebration of prayer and common humanity. At a time when Washington and our nation are deeply divided, the annual breakfast is an opportunity to set aside political differences, unite around our shared values, and move closer to healing some of the deep divisions in our country.”

President Trump delivered remarks, which you can read by clicking here .

You can read the column by Senators Lankford and Coons on by clicking here .
Left-wing Legislation Alert: Ever Vigilant in Defending Liberty
While the majority of the Kansas Legislature is focused on such items as ensuring Kansans do not receive a tax increase, paying our obligation to retirees, not mortgaging our future, and passing a balanced budget, lurking in the stack of bill introductions is legislation that reveals an effort to repeal the important steps that have been made on behalf of the liberty of Kansans in recent years. 

Two examples of this are HB 2164, which would repeal the Adoption Protection Act; and HB 2036, which would repeal a common-sense statute that prohibits state monies from being used to lobby for gun control, essentially preventing your tax dollars from being used to lobby against your constitutional rights.

While it is unlikely (thankfully!) these bills will ever see the light of day, we mention them to demonstrate how important it is for Kansans to remain vigilant in defense of our liberties, and how some members of the legislature want to undermine them. Even when success is achieved, we must continue to remain steadfast in ensuring that success is not overturned.
Every week, the Truth Report contains a “Wallet Watch," where we examine efforts to remove money from the wallets of hard-working Kansans.  
Kansas Democrats in both the House and Senate are decrying passage of SB 22, which would prevent a tax increase on the people of Kansas. Using false rhetoric to mislead the electorate, they are disguising the fact they want to essentially steal the federal tax cuts – intended for the people – so government can spend it.  

The Kansas Truth Caucus stands in strong support of a simple concept – it’s your money.