WyCo Priority Issues for the 2018 Legislature
Via the Unified Government:
The 2018 session of the Kansas Legislature convened this week. The major issue will be how to deal with funding public schools. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the current funding formula is unconstitutional because of the amount of money spent on schools and the way it is distributed.
While school finance will be the major topic, many issues will be debated and dealt with. The Unified Government has adopted a number of priority issues on which it will be engaged.
Unified Government Priority Issues for the 2018 Legislature
The Unified Government and KCK Police Department support the use of asset forfeiture as an important component in reducing the financial gains from criminal acts while providing civil due process. All assets forfeited, or the proceeds from the sale of assets, should remain with the local government that seizes the property.
Property Tax Lid Election Process
The Unified Government supports repeal of the tax lid. If repeal does not occur, the Unified Government supports additional exemptions to make the law more workable and replacing the current election process with a protest petition. The current election procedures do not coordinate with local government budget timelines and are unworkable. The costs of holding an election are excessive and unnecessary.
STAR Bonds and Economic Development
STAR Bonds have proven to be one of the most effective economic development and job creation tools in the State of Kansas. The Unified Government encourages the Kansas Legislature to continue a workable STAR Bond policy with maximum flexibility and without unnecessary restrictions. The Unified Government encourages the Kansas Legislature to work with local governments in developing innovative economic development tools.
The Unified Government supports state and federal funding to assist in making needed improvements to the I-70/Turner Diagonal interchange and the I-70/I-435 interchange near Village West. The improvements to these major interchanges are critical to economic development efforts that will attract new businesses and create new jobs, as well as for the safety of the driving public.
The Unified Government supports legislation that allows counties to oversee the budgets and personnel policies affecting county operations to ensure accountability to local taxpayers.
Property Valuations and Appeals
The Unified Government supports legislation to eliminate “Dark Store” techniques in the valuation and assessment of all properties, including big box stores. Such legislation should value all properties at their highest and best use and would prevent the use of anti-competitive deed restrictions in determining property at fair market value. The Unified Government supports procedural changes to the tax appeals process that are balanced and sensible for both the taxpayer and county government.
Alcoholic Liquor Taxes
Changes in the way alcoholic liquor taxes are classified, taxed, or where they are sold should be done in a way which avoids a loss of revenue to local governments.
The Unified Government supports legislation which streamlines and expedites the process for local governments, neighborhood organizations and private businesses to deal with the blight of abandoned, nuisance and foreclosed properties to protect the rights and property values of surrounding property owners.
The Unified Government supports the expansion of Medicaid. The refusal of the state to expand Medicaid increases the burden on local governments to plan and fund health care for the poor. Wyandotte County has an overall uninsured rate of 19% compared to 12% in Kansas. Refusal to expand Medicaid burdens local healthcare facilities with providing tens of millions of dollars in uncompensated care every year.
The complete 2018 State and Federal Legislative agenda can be viewed on the Unified Government website at www.wycokck.org under the Public Relations Department page.