Governor Signs Budget That Keeps Kansas on Track

Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed the omnibus budget bill Thursday, which includes nearly all of the budget recommendations she submitted to the Legislature back in January.

“As the nation’s economy sits at the edge of recession, the Kansas economy continues to remain steady. We’re increasing jobs and growing businesses and that helps us meet our commitments throughout the state.” Sebelius said.

The omnibus budget bill, HB 2946, also includes Sebelius’ recommendations for reductions in waiting lists for the developmentally disabled and more technology assistance waivers for disabled Kansans.

Additionally, the Governor signed HB 2390 which provides retired state employees with at least ten years of service a one-time payment of $300.

“The fixed income of retirees cannot keep up with the rising costs of fuel, food and living expenses,” Sebelius said. “This is a small token of thanks that I hope retirees can put to good use.”

Sebelius used her line-item veto on four items in the budget and signed four other bills today. This brings the total number of bills signed in the 2008 Legislative Session to 183 with seven having been vetoed and one becoming law without signature.

Regarding property, income and sales tax law

HB 2434 implements new sales tax exemptions and credits for Kansas non-profit organizations, businesses located in disaster areas and senior citizens’ homestead taxes. It also mandates e-filing for certain businesses and allows tax exemptions for postsecondary institutions when using land for research and development purposes. This bill goes into effect after its publication in the Kansas Register.

Credit card use for city payments

HB 2440 allows any city to accept debit cards and credit cards for the payment of taxes, utility fees, or other services. This bill goes into effect after its publication in the Kansas Statute Book.

Updating the Vehicle Information Processing System (VIPS)

HB 2542 finances the integration and modernization of the Vehicle Information Processing System (VIPS), the Kansas Drivers’ License System (KDLS), and the Kansas Vehicle Inventory System (KVIS) of the Division of Vehicles in the Department of Revenue. This bill goes into effect July 1, 2008.

Requiring Substance Abuse Treatment

HB 2707 authorizes the court to place certain felons in a substance abuse treatment program established by the Kansas Department of Corrections for at least four months. The bill also authorizes a court to retain jurisdiction to modify an offender’s sentence to a less severe penalty after the successful completion of the substance abuse treatment program.

The bill also provides that no downward dispositional departure could be imposed for any crime of extreme sexual violence. This bill goes into effect upon its publication in the Kansas Statute Book.

Omnibus Budget Line-item veto messages:

Expanded Lottery Act Revenues Fund

Sections 19 (e), (f), (g), (h) and (i) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety.

As I stated in my previous message, current law already defines how new receipts from gaming activity will be administered and how they can be spent. Creating additional funds and further stipulations would limit the flexibility of future Legislatures to target gaming receipts toward the most important and pressing needs of the state. For this reason, I again find it necessary to veto this portion of the bill.

Homeland Security Funds

Section 47 has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.

This section places unnecessary limits on how the state budgets for homeland security. Restricting how state funds can be used in this area may not serve the best interests of our future security.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Section 14 (b) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.

This $500,000 expenditure was added very late in the appropriations process with little review, and it was financed from the Economic Development Initiatives Fund, which the Legislature has overspent by over $1 million. The procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles may be a worthy project for future consideration, but should not be done without an adequate source of financing. Eliminating this expenditure in FY 2009 does not completely balance the Economic Development Initiatives Fund. I will work with the economic development agencies and the Division of the Budget to recommend a revised budget for this fund to present to the 2009 Legislature.

Department of Wildlife and Parks Cabin Program

Section 21 (g) has been line-item vetoed in its entirety.

This provision unnecessarily restricts the authority of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to provide public services and manage agency resources in the most efficient manner.


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