UPD: Kansas House advances school funding bill

It took Kansas lawmakers 101 days, but it appears that a solution may be in sight to address K-12 funding.
Following an 81-40 vote late Wednesday, lawmakers in the House took final action Thursday morning advancing HB 2410 by an 84-39 vote. That gives the House a little breathing room should a veto override be necessary.
60th District Representative Mark Schreiber says he feels good about the progress made in the House.
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Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine says he's encouraged by the House bill which shares many similarities with the Senate bill that came out of committee this week.
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The House and Senate have adjourned until Tuesday. Both Longbine and Schreiber are optimistic that the school funding bill now serves as a blueprint for the legislature to adopt a tax reform bill. There are four days of legislative funding remaining as lawmakers eye a June 2 finish to this year's session.

5:30 a.m. Thursday: House could consider school funding bill Thursday

Plans to vote on a tax reform bill stalled Wednesday in the Kansas House but movement did occur on school funding.

The House bill on K-12 funding was advanced to final action on a vote of 81-40 setting up the concluding vote on the measure expected Thursday.

The funding package would add $180 million in state aid the first fiscal year and another $100 million the following year to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court's reform directive.

3:00 p.m. Wednesday

Plans to vote on a tax reform bill have stalled in the Kansas House.

The bill would have raised $950 million in state revenue over two years while repealing some selected sales tax exemptions and dropping the income tax exclusion for owners of thousands of businesses in Kansas. 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber tells KVOE that the House did not work the tax bill Wednesday morning. 

According to the Topeka-Capital Journal, after members of the legislature drew up the initial framework for Senate Bill 30 late Tuesday night, additional amendments to the measure made Wednesday didn't generate sufficient votes to prompt a vote before the House launched debate on a new K-12 school funding formula. 
The tax proposal would retain Kansas' two-bracket income tax structure, but raise the lower rate from 2.7 to 3 percent and raise the upper rate from 4.6 percent to 5 percent. Gov. Sam Brownback has threatened to veto any tax bill with three tax brackets or a bill with an upper rate above 5 percent.
The House also rejected a three-tier income tax bill Monday that would have raised $1.2 billion in revenue over two years. Wednesday was the 100th day of the legislative session.

8:00 a.m. Wednesday

Following late-night negotiations Tuesday, the Kansas House has agreed to debate a new tax reform bill that would raise $950 million over two years. It also has scheduled consideration of the chamber's bill recasting state aid to public schools.

According to the Topeka-Capital Journal, the deal would retain the state's existing two-bracket income tax rate but raises rates to 3 percent and 5 percent, up from the current 2.7 and 4.6 percent rates. The proposal includes the elimination of $60 million in state sales tax exemptions for towing, pet care, self storage, lawn care, tattoos and piercings, security guards and detective services. The income tax exemption for owners of 330,000 businesses and a law requiring reductions to state income tax rates would be repealed.

The proposal also raises the state's liquor tax from 8 percent to 10 percent. The bill also has several extensions to the STAR bond tax incentive programs for commercial developments, creation of and Ad Astra investment fund for rural business projects and $7.7 million in tax credits for the aviation industry.

The proposal comes on the heals of a narrowly rejected three-tier income tax bill Monday that would have seen $1.2 billion raised over two years to tackle the state's $900 million deficit.

According to the Topeka-Capital Journal, a Senate education committee spent much of Tuesday crafting details of a new system for allocating state aid to more than 280 public school districts. The House has planned floor debate Wednesday on its bill modifying state appropriations to K-12 schools. The House plan would inject $180 million into school districts next year and $100 million more to the appropriation in the following year.