When lawmakers return to Topeka to wrap up the 2018 legislative session, they’ll be met by advocates for limited government and economic liberty. Americans for Kansas-Prosperity is hosting its supporters to rally at the Capitol on April 26.
Americans for Prosperity-Kansas is a political advocacy group in support of economic liberty and small government. It boasts about 50,000 members statewide. Many of the group’s members will hear speeches and speak with legislators tomorrow when legislators return to Topeka after a three-week break.
“We want to let them know as soon as they’re back from break; Kansans don’t want more taxes,” Ian Fury, AFP Field Director, says. “We want them to know we don’t want more Obamacare.”
There are only a handful of days left before lawmakers adjourn the 2018 session. Several critical issues remain unresolved.
Jeff Glendening, AFP-Kansas State Director, says lawmakers are trading votes and spending money during the final days of the session. The veto session, or wrap-up session used to be fairly short and smooth.
“Then wrap-up sessions started being this really long thing. One year, (lawmakers) passed more laws during wrap session than during the regular session,” Glendening says. “They now pass an enormous amount of stuff during wrap up. It’s all about deals, and it’s all about getting out of the session.”
The biggest issue legislators will face when they return to session on April 26 is a school finance fix. The Kansas Supreme Court gave lawmakers an April 30 deadline to craft a new school funding formula, which they passed in the wee hours of the morning on April 8 as the general session expired. The proposal would add $500 million in new funding for education over the next 5 years, but a glitch in the way the legislation was drafted will require lawmakers to vote a second time on a technical fix worth about $80 million of that funding. It was contentious the first time, and Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican, says finding a simple majority of House members to vote for it won’t be easy. He voted against the original legislation, and he says he has no plans to vote in favor of fixing the drafting glitch.
“I’ve talked to some people who actually voted for the school funding thing who aren’t inclined to vote for the fix,” Whitmer says.
Some lawmakers say adding the funding to school financing won’t require a tax increase, but they’re banking on a tax-increase of omission. If lawmakers don’t do anything, Kansans will get a tax increase as the state will keep some of the earnings intended to be returned to taxpayers through the federal tax reforms.
Glendening says taxpayers must hold extra tight to their wallets during veto session. Lawmakers passed the largest tax increase in state history during last year’s veto session, and the tax increase approved before that one — a sales tax hike in 2015– occurred during veto session as well.
“The budget isn’t done yet. Legislators are trading votes, and they’re trying to spend more money,” Glendening says. “This is the sausage making part of politics. And whether it be the tax bill or more spending or Medicaid expansion, there’s a lot going on right now. It’s a great time for people to get to the Capitol and make their voices heard.”
For more information about the AFP Day at the Capitol or to RSVP for the event, visit the group’s Facebook event page.