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finance bill may earmark state income tax to K & New

2017-06-05 13:16 [BANK] Source:Netword
Guide:The Legislature’s deal makers return to the bargaining table Sunday to clarify details of legislation overhauling the state’s school finance formul

The Legislature’s deal makers return to the bargaining table Sunday to clarify details of legislation overhauling the state’s school finance formula and elevating state aid to public schools.

 

The bill could include for the first time a dedicated source of revenue anchored by state income tax receipts.

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On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, said future negotiations would likely include a House-inspired proposal to allocate all state individual income tax receipts to K-12 education. The package would include $2.2 billion in income taxes collected annually and as much as $500 million in New income tax receipts.

“The idea is 100 percent of the individual income tax collected in the state of Kansas would be dedicated to K-12,” said Denning, the Senate’s lead negotiator. “It’s a stable source.”

The concept of overlaying the finance formula with an income tax blanket wasn’t raised Saturday by Rep. Larry Campbell, an Olathe Republican and top House negotiator, during multiple rounds of negotiations.

If a majority in the House and Senate approved of the concept, the bill would be in the hands of Gov. Sam Brownback.

The 2017 Legislature is responsible for bringing state funding to K-12 schools into compliance with the Kansas Constitution and closing a projected $900 million state government deficit over the next two fiscal years.

A New formula was required after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled current levels of state aid to K-12 schools unconstitutional. Justices concluded the block-grant system embraced by Brownback deprived 25 percent of Kansas’ academically low-achieving students of a suitable education.

“Not only is the state failing to provide approximately one-fourth of all its public school K-12 students with the basic skills of both reading and math,” the Supreme Court ruling says, “but that it is also leaving behind significant groups of harder-to-educate students.”

The court set a June 30 deadline for lawmakers to enact a constitutional formula or face potential closure of schools.

House and Senate negotiators tentatively agreed to accept the House’s plan boosting state aid by $180 million in the upcoming fiscal year and expanding aid by $100 million the next fiscal year. The Senate’s version would inject $164 million the first year, followed by a spike of $67 million the second year.

Denning proposed a change to Kansas law granting $10 million in tax credits to corporations making donations for private school scholarships. He recommended individuals contributing to scholarship funds be eligible for tax credits.

Brownback urged lawmakers to improve upon provisions in pending bills making students at the 100 lowest-performing public schools in Kansas eligible for private-school scholarships.

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