Governor’s Tax Bill. The Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee finished hearings but took no action Wednesday on SB 78, which maintains the current state sales tax rate and repeals the mortgage interest and property tax deductions from state income tax; and also enacts a new set of income tax rate cuts. The bill is designed to first raise revenue to cover a projected shortfall in the state general fund and avoid cuts in K-12 education and other programs; but to continue a multi-year elimination of state income taxes. Hearings begin today on the same proposals in HB 2110 in the House Taxation Committee. KASB will testify as a proponent of the proposals to raise revenue immediately, but not further income tax reductions that could lead future cuts in education funding.
Property Tax Vote. Yesterday, the House Tax Committee voted to recommend HB 2047 without amendment. The bill would require school boards and other local governments to take a separate vote before budgeting and spending more property tax revenue than the previous year if raised due to growth in valuation. The vote must be published in the county newspaper. The bill is not designed to limit what can be spent. KASB testified against the bill because school funding is already covered by various state limits and required public votes and notifications, and the publication requirement would add cost. However, KASB indicated the bill would likely have little practical effect because boards already vote annually on district budgets.
Limits on Lobbying. KASB will testify today in the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee as an opponent of SB 45, which would prohibit the use of state appropriations for certain lobbying and public campaign activities. KASB will explain the bill is unclear on its actual intent, but argue school boards should have the ability to represent the concerns of their constituents in the political process.
Statewide Mill Levy. KASB will testify today a proponent of SB 23 in the Senate Education Committee, which extends the statewide 20 mill levy for school districts for two additional years. Without renewal, school district general funds would lose approximately $575 million.
Dyslexia Services. KASB will testify Thursday as an opponent of SB 44 in the Senate Education Committee. The bill would require districts to provide specific services to students upon a written statement of from a licensed physician, psychologist or psychiatrist stating that a child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, regardless of whether the child has been identified by the school. If the school does not provide certain services within six weeks, the district must pay for such instruction by a third party selected by the parents. KASB believes schools are already required to identify such students and opposes state requirements for students with disabilities that exceed federal requirements.
Military Student Count. The House Education Budget Committee holds a hearing Thursday on HB 2109, which extends the second count date for military families through the 2017-18 school year. Under current law, this provision expires at the end of the current school year.
Supplemental Appropriations for State Aid. The Senate Ways and Means Committee announced a hearing tomorrow on SB 76, making supplemental appropriations to the state budget. This includes $21.3 million in general state aid required to maintain the base budget per pupil at $3,838 for the current school year.
Next week's schedule of hearings and committee action will be available by tomorrow - as always, subject to change.