Feb 11, 2020 4:10 PM

BILLINGER: Legislative Update Feb. 11

Posted Feb 11, 2020 4:10 PM
Sen. Rick Billinger (R-Goodland, 40th Dist.
Sen. Rick Billinger (R-Goodland, 40th Dist.

Several Republican Senators including myself sent SB 368 to the Ways and Means Committee.

SB 368 will pay back money to the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) and should also serve as a message to Governor Kelly that her plan to use state employee pension funds to balance her budget is not one that we support. We must be vigilant in keeping KPERS strong for our teachers and state employees.

The bill pays off $268 million in state/school group debt to KPERS and will save the state $209 million in interest payments by doing so early. Once the funds are transferred, they cannot be removed from the KPERS Trust Fund.

This bill is similar to the 2019 SB 9 which passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

With revenues coming in ahead of projections I feel we should be paying our bills, which should include this obligation to KPERS.

Kansas has collected more tax revenue than expected almost every month for more than two years and in January the trend continues.

The latest Department of Revenue report released last week shows collections were nearly $60 million more than anticipated leading Republican legislators to continue to work on their plans to help Kansans benefit with long-term tax solutions.

The $60 million more than analysts predicted translates into a 9% January surplus. Since the current budget year began in July, tax collections have run nearly $111 million more than budget officials expected. Even with extra revenue being collected monthly, Governor Kelly continues to reject that idea that Kansans should be able to itemize on their mortgage interest, healthcare costs and property taxes.

Late day Friday, the Senate Resolution, SCR 1613, Value Them Both Amendment, which would keep the current restrictions on state taxpayer funded abortions in place, failed by 4 votes. Leadership will regroup on Monday to figure out our path forward.

We still have opportunities for students (12years and older) in middle school, junior high or high school to come to Topeka to be a page. It is a great learning experience about the legislative process and an opportunity to see Kansas’ beautiful Capitol building. The dates available to page are February 17th, February 24th and March 9th. If you are interested, contact my office assistant at 785 296-7399.

It is an honor and pleasure to serve the 40th Senate District of Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail at [email protected] or you may call me with your questions or concerns. My office number is 785 296-7399 or my cell number is 785 899-4700. If you are in Topeka, stop by my office at 236-E.