Legislative Update – January 2020 Week 2

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A fairly steady increase in activity at the committee level occurred during the second week of the legislative session. In addition to reports from state agencies and informational briefings, several committees had rather active hearing schedules to consider legislation. This was particularly the case with the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee where numerous hearings on bills covering county appraisers and the appraisal process were held. Five bills mentioned in last week’s report were scheduled for hearings, however, the Committee ended up only having enough time to consider three bills. I provided testimony in support of SB 263, legislation that requires current year tax estimates on annual notices of valuation. Transparency in property taxation is certainly a theme of numerous bills this session and it is likely that I will be testifying in support of several
more bills in the coming weeks.

House Republicans unveiled a five part “Make Kansas Work” plan with one of the parts establishing a first-time homebuyer savings account. This would function similar to the state’s 529 plan that allows tax deductible contributions for college savings. The proposal will be introduced in bill form as early as next week, allows accounts to shelter up to $24,000 per person or $48,000 per couple in taxes for helping to buy a Kansas home.

The lack of quality and affordable housing in rural areas is a reoccurring theme throughout a report released by the newly created Office of Rural Prosperity. The effort is led by Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers who has presented to several committees during the first two weeks of the legislative session. The report has led to the creation of a housing work group that will bring together multiple state agencies that touch on housing issues to work on possible solutions. The report can be found here.

REALTORS® Legislative Priorities

Tax reform legislation could be introduced as early as next week that will cover a broad range of tax issues caused by changes that occurred at the federal level in 2017. It is expected to include our number one legislative priority of removing the restriction under current law that prevents Kansas individual income taxpayers from itemizing deductions for state income tax purposes unless they also itemize deductions for federal income tax purposes. There have been some discussions to increase the state’s standard deduction instead of a decoupling approach. It is our view that a small increase to the state’s standard deduction will not be significant enough to address the increased tax burden faced by the taxpayers harmed by the issue. We are also working to have the standard deduction issue be heard in the House Tax Committee. This may be in the form of an information briefing or as a hearing on a standalone decoupling bill that was introduced during the first week of the session last year (HB 2005).

There is also movement on several of our other priorities this week. I have been leading negotiating with stakeholders on a compromise home inspector bill that will create the Kansas Home Inspectors Professional Competency and Financial Responsibility Act. We hope to have this introduced as a separate bill or as a substitute to a bill that was created last year that had several prominent opponents (SB 168). A bill that addresses our priority of preventing fraud and abuse of service and emotional support animals in housing was introduced Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill has not been assigned a bill number yet but it is expected to mirror recommendations from the Kansas Judicial Council.

The Week Ahead

The Legislature has yet to announce all of their hearings for next week but we do know that hearings will be held on the following:

SB 244 (sunsets administrative rules after 5 years), hearing will be held Monday in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
SB 273 (allows Board of Tax Appeal attendance by electronic means), hearing will be held on Wednesday in the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee.
SB 272 (prohibits valuation increases as a result of appeals to county appraiser or Board of Tax Appeal proceedings), hearing will be held on Wednesday in the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee.

Click here to view the Legislative Tracking Spreadsheet.

Feel free to reach out with any issues, questions or concerns to mark@kansasrealtor.com or 785.414.5155

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