June 30, 2015
Legislative update June 30
The 2015 Kansas Legislature adjourned Sine Die on Friday, June 26, which was the ceremonial end to a 114-day legislative session.
The focus for the entire legislative session was on the state budget and revenues. The final state budget included flat funding for Kansas State University and the other state universities, which was recommended by the governor in his State of the State address presented in January.
The final budget bill included:
- Flat funding for fiscal year 2016 and 2017.
- Targeted enhancement funding for College of Architecture, Planning & Design for Seaton Hall.
- A cap on student tuition for academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17 of consumer price index plus 2 percent.
- Continued funding:
- $5 million base funding for College of Veterinary Medicine.
- $5 million for Global Food Systems Initiative.
- $5 million for research initiatives related to the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF.
- $3.5 million for the University Engineering Initiative Act.
The last act of the Kansas Legislature was to pass a $422 million dollar tax and revenue package.
The key provisions of the package include:
- Increasing the sales tax from current 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent starting July 1 with no changes to sales tax on food.
- Reduces itemized deductions but retains 100 percent deductibility of charitable contributions and 50 percent deductibility of mortgage interest and property tax from state income tax.
- Increases the cigarette tax by $.50 per pack to a total tax of $1.29.
- Provides an amnesty program for delinquent tax payers with unpaid taxes as of Dec. 31, 2013.
- Exempts low income individuals with income below $5,000 for single filers and $12,000 for joint filers from income taxes.
- Provides for individual income tax rates to decline if state revenues exceed budgeted expectations by 2.5 percent.
- Requires eligible parties to have a social security number prior to receiving state tax credits.
- Freezes future tax rate decreases unless revenue growth exceeds 2.5 percent per year after designated adjustments to revenue. Tax rates would remain at 2.7 percent and 4.6 percent through 2017 and 2.6 percent and 4.6 percent in 2018.
- Reinstates income tax on "guaranteed payments" received by members of pass through businesses.
- Requires voter approval before cities and counties may raise property taxes above the rate of inflation unless the funds are to be used for new infrastructure, certain bonds and interest, special assessments, costs associated with federal or state mandates, payment of judgments.
Legislation of interest for higher education
HB 2154 — provides in-state tuition for retired military personnel, spouses and dependents.
HB 2353 — adding university support staff to statute relating to vacation time.
HB 2395 — increases the threshold to $1 million for projects requiring the formal procurement of architectural and engineering services. In addition, the bill streamlines the notice and public hearing requirements for alternate construction delivery methods.
Bills which did not pass
HB 2139 — changing current law that allows undocumented students to attend state universities and colleges as residents.
HB 2234 — prohibited the use of titles by professors in certain publications
HB 2266 — Adding new sexual assault statutes for universities and colleges
SB 175 — Requiring campus student groups to limit membership
SB 193 — Requiring universities and colleges to provide a "prospectus" for students and families on degree costs and potential future earnings.