Under the Dome
Associated General Contractors
February 22, 2016
|Budget to Governor
After agreement by leaders of a House-Senate conference committee on the budget, both chambers adopted revised FY 16 & 17 budgets. The budget approved by the House 68-53 and the Senate 22-16 was mostly a balancing exercise after the legislature last year passed a two-year appropriations act. The action this year was necessitated by lower than anticipated receipts, although legislative leaders have pointed out that the state will still take in about 4% more in revenue year over year.
Major points of the budget – the state will end FY16 with about $6M in the bank, provided receipts meet estimates. However, the Senate did agree with the House provision allowing the governor to delay up to $100M in payments to the state’s retirement fund, provided he pays it in full by October 1 and with 8% interest. That money could be used in order to fill additional gaps in the budget should receipts lag estimates. And a provision that requires KU to get legislative approval before spending any tuition or fee monies. That’s punishment for KU’s P3 bond deal that was done without any legislative signoff. The restriction applies only to KU – not the other state universities or KU Med.
The governor is expected to sign the budget, although expectations are high that he will line item veto a section prohibiting the use of STAR Bonds and perhaps the KU slap.
House Tax Committee To Hold Hearing on Food Sales Tax
House Tax Committee Chairman Marvin Kleeb R-Overland Park announced that he will hold a hearing on a bill that would lower the state’s sales tax on food while reinstating the income tax on LLCs and S corporations. Kleeb, in his comments, didn’t seem particularly supportive of the bill, but he is known as a Chairman that is willing to hold hearings and air things out regardless of his personal feelings.
A similar bill in the Senate calls for a constitutional amendment offered to voters in the November election, to bring state sales taxes on groceries down to zero over three years. It does not address the income tax on small business.
House Committee Passes Bills Preempting Locals on Scheduling and Food Labeling
The House Committee on Commerce and Labor this week passed bills preempting local ordinances and resolutions regarding employee scheduling and food labeling requirements.
HB 2595 reserves for the legislature the ability to require food labels more stringent than the federal requirements. Local units of government would be prohibited from making determinations on things such as soda sizes and banning toys in say a Happy Meal or labeling food items as healthy or unhealthy. The bill is in response to progressive efforts such as former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda ban and San Francisco’s sodium alert. The bill now awaits action by the House.
The Commerce Committee also forwarded to the House HB 2576, which prohibits cities and counties from passing laws related to employee scheduling. San Francisco, for example, passed rules which require companies that have 11 or more locations across the country and employ 20 or more people in San Francisco to provide advance notice of schedules, and give current workers the opportunity to take on more hours before hiring new people. Employers will have to give their workers at least two weeks’ advance notice of their schedules, and if they fail to do so they will have to give those workers additional “predictability pay.” Workers also get paid if they’re required to be on call but their shifts are canceled. Employers will have to give part-time employees the same starting wage as those working full time in the same position and access to the same benefits.
On Tuesday, both budget committees heard the final report from Alvarez and Marsal on areas state government can operate more efficiently. The final report contained all of the original 105 recommendations projected to save the state $2 billion over the next five years. Both budget committees are expected to begin consideration of the study when they return in March.
The House Education Committee passed a bill that would prohibit the state from continuing the use of The Common Core Standards. The Common Core has been a controversial subject over the years and past efforts to abolish or prohibit its use and/or funding have not been successful.
Turnaround Deadline Arrives
Both the House and Senate will be on the floor all day Monday ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for the passage of bills by their house of origin. The legislature is expected to break sometime on Tuesday and will return for the second half of session on March 1.
Watkins & Schneider Consulting LLC | | firstname.lastname@example.org |