Legislative update: Tackling taxes, vaccines, and child care
Kansas Action for Children
Feb. 19, 2021
Senate Bill 22 is out there, lurking. It passed the Kansas Senate but hasn't been taken up by the House yet. So we decided to make this video talking about the proposal and the threats it poses. Please share with your friends.
Work at the Statehouse continues, of course, with testimony aplenty and an exciting new bill. Read on for more:
FISCAL POLICY: Another proposal would drain revenue, undermine state services
As we wait to see when the House Taxation Committee will hear Senate Bill 22, there were a few tax bills of note this week. First, Kansas Action for Children shared testimony in opposition to House Bill 2186, which would allow some industries the option to elect into using a single sales factor (SSF) formula to determine their tax obligations. It might sound dull, but it would decrease the state’s revenue by more than $20 million every year.
More concerning, this bill is yet another proposed tax break that drains revenue from Kansas services to cater to primarily big and multi-state businesses. While proponents of the bill suggest it will lead to job creation in the state, research shows that the implementation of SSF is not strongly linked to manufacturing job creation or retention.
KAC also provided testimony in support of House Bill 2230, which would enact sales tax collection on digital goods. KAC believes this bill is an important step to modernize our tax code and level the playing field for Kansas businesses. It would also capture a sustainable and renewable source of revenue our state needs.
You can contact Director of Fiscal Policy Emily Fetsch at [email protected].
HEALTH: Vaccine bills introduced; another week without Medicaid expansion
This past week, KAC offered written testimony in support of HB 2250, a newborn screening bill. Health committees again held hearings on several bills, including on dental therapists. Also, Sen. Molly Baumgardner raised perinatal care concerns during a hearing about rural emergency hospitals.
Unfortunately, two vaccine-related bills, SB 212 and 213, have been introduced. SB 213 prohibits employers from taking action against employees for their vaccine status. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing about SB 213 on Feb. 25; KAC will submit written opponent testimony. If you are concerned about SB 213, please consider weighing in. Contact Heather if you have questions. SB 212 changes who in state government decides which kids’ vaccines are required for child care and school. No hearing is scheduled yet, but we will closely monitor this bill, as KAC strongly opposes it.
Finally, it’s the end of week six, yet we haven't seen progress on Medicaid expansion. Two new reports highlight (1) an estimated 39,000 Kansas kids would benefit from expansion (Kansas Health Institute); and (2) kids are left behind in health care access when states such as Kansas refuse to expand Medicaid (Georgetown Center for Children and Families). We hope to see renewed discussion about this important issue, as Medicaid expansion directly benefits kids and families.
You can contact Health Policy Advisor Heather Braum at [email protected].
EARLY LEARNING: Expanded eligibility for child care tax credit?
This week, Rep. Adam Smith – chairman of the House Taxation Committee – introduced a bill that would expand eligibility for the employer child care tax credit. Kansas already allows C-corporations and privilege tax payers (essentially, financial institutions) to receive a credit for helping their employees find and pay for child care. Unfortunately, about $100,000 of the $3 million allocated for the credit has been claimed in recent years. This bill would allow all businesses to claim a credit for providing on-site care, paying for off-site care, assisting with a search for child care, or paying into a shared services system.
That last item may be unfamiliar to many folks, as it would be new to the state of Kansas. By providing care through a shared services model, businesses that want to provide child care – but don’t want to get into the business of running a child care facility – could work with an outside entity to help with administration, recruitment, and daily operations. By creating a financial incentive, the credit will help establish this innovative approach to addressing Kansas’ child care needs.
KAC looks forward to supporting this policy through the legislative process, and taking a step toward establishing public-private partnerships to address the needs of all early childhood stakeholders.
You can contact Early Learning Policy Advisor Mitch Rucker at [email protected].
Interested in supporting efforts to reform payday lending in Kansas? Check out the Kansans for Payday Loan Reform coalition. You can also follow the group on social media (Facebook and Twitter), to learn more about its important efforts.