Les Mason: Legislative Update 

Representative Les Mason

Kansas Teacher of the Year Winners Honored; National Finalist

The House honored the Kansas Teacher of the Year and Regional Teachers of the Year last week with House Resolution 6028.  The Kansas Teacher of the Year winner is Tabatha Rosproy, an early education teacher in Winfield, USD #465.  She is a preschool educator who teaches in a program that is located within a retirement village and nursing home.  She has helped her preschool program, the Cumbernauld Little Vikes, interact with the retirement community. This program has the highest preschool literacy and math scores in her school district.  She is the first early childhood teacher to be named a finalist since 1991. 

Regional Teachers of the Year winners are:

Kara Belew, Social Studies Teacher, Andover Central High School, Andover USD #385 

Amy Hillman, Project-Based Learning, Santa Fe Trail Middle School, Olathe USD #233

Shawn Hornung, Social Studies, Wamego High School, Wamego USD #320

Stefanie Lane, 4th Grade, Garfield Elementary School, Clay County USD #379

Julie Lovenstein, 4th Grade, Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, Basehor-Linwood USD #458

Lara McDonald, Language Arts, Washburn Rural Middle School, Auburn-Washburn USD #437

Melissa Molteni, 2nd Grade, Corinth Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD #512

Kansas Tax Modernization Report

The Tax Foundation has published, and reported to various committees of the legislature, their Kansas Tax Modernization Report to encourage stable, fair, and pro-growth tax reform in Kansas. 

Net Operating Loss improvements

Businesses typically deduct prior losses to smooth their tax obligations over time.  Currently Kansas limits carryforwards to 10 years, while many states limit carry forwards to 20 years. At the federal level the period of time is unlimited, while the amount is limited to 80% of tax liability.  Transitioning to a 20-year period or conforming to the federal model would be an improvement for Kansas businesses.   

Full Expensing on Capital Investment

On investment as a tax on net income, the corporate income tax should exclude business costs, which includes what is spent on investment.  For tax purposes, businesses should immediately deduct business costs in the year they occur rather than taking deductions over time. The new federal tax law shifted to a policy of immediate and full expensing for machinery and equipment.  However, this is scheduled to phase-out at the federal level in 2022. It makes sense for Kansas to adopt these provisions to further encourage Kansas businesses to grow and expand.

Allow an Independent Choice of Itemization vs. Standard Deduction

Currently five of the itemized deductions that are available under federal law are also available under the Kansas tax code. However under Kansas law, if a taxpayer claims the standard deduction on their federal return, he or she must also claim the standard deduction on their state return. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled the federal standard deduction.  Because of this change, approximately 10% of Kansas taxpayers itemize at the federal and state levels currently, where previously that figure was at 30%. Many states have decoupled from the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to allow their taxpayers the option to make an independent choice to either itemize and/or claim the standard deduction on their state and/or federal returns.  Decoupling would do the same for Kansans and would especially help the 20% of taxpayers who previously itemized. Restoring that choice for taxpayers would ultimately lessen the Kansas income tax burden for them and many others.

Online Remote Sales Tax

Kansas ought to tax remote sales to equalize the playing field and protect brick and mortar Kansas businesses without placing undue burdens on interstate commerce. Enforcement of remote sales tax collection without safe harbor protections for local businesses has been a priority for the Kansas legislature.

Governor Kelly, last year, vetoed two bills that were sent to her desk that contained these proposals. In her state-of-the-state address, the governor renewed her threat to veto any tax bills that pass both chambers with similar provisions.  According to The Tax Foundation, Kansas currently ranks 34th in the nation when it comes to business tax climate. These are simple changes that will lessen the overall tax burden for all Kansans, while improving the state’s competitive business climate, protecting employees and employers. Both chambers are actively working on legislation to do exactly that. We must recognize that there is a symbiotic relationship between employees and their employers. We can’t be “pro-jobs” without being “pro-business”.

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