January 23, 2023
The "A Better Way"
The 2023 Kansas Legislative Session officially commenced on Monday, January 9, 2023. It truly is an honor to serve the constituents of the 109th Kansas House District and to remain as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
On Tuesday, January 10, House and Senate Leadership unveiled their plan for the 2023 Legislative Session in regards to an array of areas from taxes to the economy.
The plan calls to pass a balanced budget that eliminates wasteful spending, pay down our debt, and adds more money to the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy-Day Fund.
During the announcement, leadership expressed the desire to make the tax code flatter and simple to assist families and businesses. Reducing the tax burden on retirees and families was also included in the “A Better Way.”
In regards to the economy, the plan prohibits ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing in the state retirement system and post-secondary institutions. It would authorize the Attorney General to investigate companies that conspire to constrain the fossil fuel industry. It would also prohibit state investment in entities owned or operated by hostile foreign governments.
There were also other areas of interest in the “A Better Way” plan that would address education, workforce development, healthcare, law enforcement and the state budget, which I will address in subsequent newsletters.
This announcement of the “A Better Way” was introduced prior to Governor Kelly’s budget on Thursday, January 12.
The first week of the Kansas Legislative Session was a light week for the House Appropriations Committee. On January 12, we held a joint committee meeting with the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee to have the details of the Governor’s budget publicly released. The Budget Director for the state of Kansas released the details of the budget, which I will discuss in the next section. On January 18, we had an update on the Budget Stabilization Fund, the expenditures from the SPARK (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) process, and update on the Docking Building. Thursday, we discussed the report from the Legislative Task Force on Community and Technical Colleges and had a discussion of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grants for economic development purposes with the institutions of higher education.
As mentioned above, the Governor’s proposed budget was introduced on Thursday, January 12. Here are some of the details of her budget:
· Full elimination of the state level sales tax on food to this year;
· Adding a four day “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday starting September 2023;
· Increasing the exemption on Social Security income tax.
She has also proposed the following:
· Deposit $500 million in the Budget Stabilization Fund;
· Add $220 million to the Infrastructure Leveraging
· Fund to unlock streams of Federal dollars that have either matching requirements or competitive grants;
· The retiring of two lake reservoir debts early and paying cash for the state share of the new Veterans Home.
The Governor’s proposed budget estimates that the ending balance in fiscal year 2024 would be $1.984 billion and that would not include the $500 million transferred to the Budget Stabilization, which make the balance of that fund over $1.5 billion.
· The Legislative Research Department is now dissecting the Governor’s budget. We will soon have the budgets reported back to the House Appropriations Committee.
Anytime that you would like to participate and listen to the developments of committee hearings or discussion on the House floor, you can tune in by visiting the live footage at www.kslegislature.org.
As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me 785-296-7672, follow on twitter at @waymaster4house, or email me at [email protected]. Please contact me regarding any issues and legislation that we are discussing during session.
It is a distinct honor to serve as your representative for the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Please contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I always appreciate hearing from the residents of the
Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, is the Kansas House Appropriations Chairman and 109th District state representative which includes:
* Osborne, Russell, and Smith Counties
* Barton County: Cities: Albert, Claflin, Galatia, Odin, Olmitz and Susank; Townships: Beaver, Cheyenne, Clarence, Cleveland, Fairview, Grant, Independent, Logan, Union, Walnut and Wheatland
* Jewell County: Cities: Burr Oak, Esbon and Mankato; Townships: Athens, Browns Creek, Burr Oak, Calvin, Center, Erving, Esbon, Harrison, Highland, Holmwood, Ionia, Limestone, Odessa, Walnut and White Mound
* Lincoln County: Cities: Lincoln Center (part) and Sylvan Grove; Townships: Battle Creek, Beaver (part), Cedron, Elkhorn (part), Golden Belt, Grant, Hanover, Highland, Indiana, Marion, Orange, Pleasant, Valley and Vesper
* Rush County: Cities: Bison, Otis, Rush Center and Timken; Townships: Banner, Center, Garfield, Illinois, Lone Star, Pioneer and Pleasantdale