Dear Economic Lifelines members:
Kansas legislators are returning to the statehouse this week in hopes of spending the month of March continuing to work on a tax package. With the veto of HB 2178, the senate fell only three votes shy of a veto override after the house easily overrode the veto. What this means is that on the first try, legislators came very close to a tax compromise that is politically feasible.
The focus of statements on why the tax policy didn’t get the votes for the veto override in the senate focused on retroactivity. With that in mind, it means that there is a continued commitment from legislators to create more structural balance. If achieved, it sets the stage for less reliance on the State Highway Fund to shore up the state budget in the future. We are optimistic that legislators are committed to finding workable solutions. That job got a little more difficult in light of the Kansas Supreme Court finding late last week that state funding of K-12 public schools is inadequate and unconstitutional.
Another positive has been a generally warm reception by the House Appropriations Committee to the House Transportation and Public Safety Budget Subcommittee’s proviso to restore funds back to T-WORKS which provides for “full” preservation project lettings of $380m/year in FY18 and FY19. They plan to take the issue up in the full committee this Wednesday, March 8th. With that in mind, we encourage members to contact legislators and ask them to support the KDOT budget provisos in FY18 and FY19.
A list of Appropriation Committee Members can be found here. We encourage you to take a moment to contact these legislators and tell them that adequate funding for transportation is critical to success in Kansas. (If you don’t know your legislator, you can find their contact information here.)
We have created advocacy tool kit materials which can be found here. These materials contain a history of T-WORKS, information about the current status of the program and a look at the future.
One final request: we’d greatly appreciate getting feedback after you speak with your legislators. Please take a minute and send us your comments via this short survey after talking with legislators or policymakers. We will be sure to follow-up on your conversations to complete the feedback loop and ensure we are proactively working with policymakers during this important time.
I want to thank Economic Lifelines members for everything that you do to support infrastructure investments in Kansas. We are only as strong as our members and we are grateful to have some of the best membership around. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions or concerns.