Hello from Agra. We now are past First Adjournment and back in the district until April 26th for what should be the veto session, but with some last-minute maneuvering, we will be back for eight days and Sine Die will be on the last day of the session, May 4.
There are still a few big things left to do before things are finished for this year, the budget and tax bills. In order to get to the big Omnibus Appropriations bill, there are a few more pieces that need to be decided. With the federal tax bill that was passed, there are some consequences back in the states, and late last week the Senate dealt with a number of the issues from tax money coming back through repatrization of money which has been held off-shore and. As it comes back into the U.S. economy, the tax consequences will be less than the normal tax rate. There also were some changes to itemization and what is and isn’t allowed. Once we have a better handle on these dollars, it will be part of the numbers of the final spending bill.
The K-12 Education Budget Committee finished its work and over the weekend, a bill was passed out of both chambers and is now headed to Gov. Jeff Colyer. It is close to $534 million dollars of new money phased in over the next five years. One of the highlights is to add more money to Special Education and keeps many of the weightings which have been beneficial to the USDs of the 110th District. There will be a lot of speculation and consternation about this bill and is it enough or too much money. We will know over the next few weeks if this will be deemed constitutional. This bill will be the legislature’s response to the Kansas Supreme Court and they will decide if it provides a suitable and equitable education to the students of Kansas. I thought the bill fiscal impact was too high, but the negotiations broke down between the house and senate and we need to move forward. I voted for the bill. In explaining my vote, I said “it is not a day to spike the ball, or be happy, but someone must lead, and today is that day.” If this bill is ruled unconstitutional, we will be back later this year for a special session.
Many people have asked about a possible constitutional amendment on school finding. There still is time to bring it up for debate and vote with the remaining days of the session, but currently, I do not know what the schedule is.
I look forward to talking with you as we are out and about in the district so please feel free to reach out with concerns and questions, I will do my best to respond it a timely manner. The best way to contact me by email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell number is (785) 302-8416. You can also check out kenforkansas.com.
Ken Rahjes, R-Agra, represents the 110th District in the Kansas House.