Jayhawks for Higher Eduation: Feb. 17, 2017

Dear Jayhawks for Higher Education,

As the Legislature prepares for a one-week break February 25-March 5, both the House and Senate have been hard at work to get bills passed and to the other chamber before the February 25 deadline. The past two weeks been especially busy regarding the budget and taxes.

The House passed its fiscal year 2017 rescission bill, which did not cut higher education. The Senate’s rescission bill for FY17 failed to make it to the floor. The bill included an additional 3 percent cut to all of higher education for FY17, FY18 and FY19.

In the next few weeks both the House and the Senate budget committees will craft their mega budget bills for FY18 and FY19. KU already has presented its budget to the House Higher Education Budget Committee for FY18 and FY19, and that committee recommended to the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday that higher education funding should remain at current levels. On Monday Chancellor Gray-Little will present KU’s FY18 and FY19 budgets to the Senate Higher Education Budget Committee.

The House and Senate both debated tax plans this week. The House sent to the floor a tax plan closing the LLC loophole, increasing the income tax of Kansans making more than $30,000 a year, and reinstating the third tax bracket for those making more than $100,000. This tax package would increase the State General Fund by $590 million in FY18 and $450 million in FY19. Almost everyone in the state would still be taxed at lower rates than those in effect before the 2012 tax reductions. The House passed the plan, 76-48, and sent it to the Senate today. After debate, the Senate approved the plan by a vote of 22-18. Because the Senate did not add amendments, the bill will be sent to Governor Brownback, who can veto the bill, sign it, or let it remain on his desk for 10 days, after which it becomes law.

We will send another update next Friday as legislators are returning home for the break. As always, we appreciate your continued loyalty as advocates for KU and higher education.

Rock Chalk,

Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09