Each week during the 2024 Kansas legislative session, we will provide Johnson County lawmakers the opportunity to share their thoughts about what is happening in the state capitol.
Below is a submission from Democratic Rep. Dan Osman of House District 48, which currently covers part of Overland Park.
Republican Rep. Laura Williams and Democratic Sen. Ethan Corson also were asked to submit columns this week. Williams did not respond to the Post.
The views expressed in each Capitol Update are solely those of the lawmaker.
The biggest issue we face in the Legislature this year is determining the most effective way to cut your taxes. It is unfortunate that Republican leadership has elected to remove all levels of negotiation on their flat tax bill, HB 2284.
Osman takes issue with GOP leadership’s tactics
The first thing they did was hide the bill inside another bill from last year. This move ensures it’s not “new” and thus there is no fiscal note attached to it. That fiscal note is supposed to provide an objective third party analysis on how much the flat tax will cost Kansas. We didn’t have that information, which is a crucial component to ensuring we remain fiscally responsible to you.
The second thing they did was kick all the Democrats off the conference committee when they wouldn’t agree to the flat tax proposal. This ensured that no dissenting viewpoints were at the table when it came time to debate the merits of the bill.
Finally, the bill came to the House floor with no expert testimony or analysis and no method to amend the proposal to make it better for my district. It was a “yes” or “no” vote only. Take it or leave it.
I chose to leave it.
My district needs tax relief but we must go about it in an appropriate manner. I know that by doing that, we’ll find the end result to be even better than what’s in the flat tax bill.
Tax relief alternatives
Here is the tax relief I would include:
- Provide residential property tax relief by giving a tax exemption on the first $100,000 of your home’s value. Twenty-nine legislators including myself co-sponsored HB 2520. It hasn’t gotten a hearing.
- Fully fund the Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund, or LAVTRF. That’s a statewide fund to help offset your county property taxes, and we haven’t funded it properly in over 20 years. Forty-two legislators including myself co-sponsored HB 2508. It also hasn’t gotten a hearing.
- In the state constitution, reduce the assessed value of real property from 11.5% down to 9%. It’s been at our current rate for over 30 years. It’s time for a change. Twenty-seven legislators including myself co-sponsored HCR 5009. It also hasn’t gotten a hearing.
- Provide an immediate end to sales taxes for groceries and hygiene products and over the counter medication. I’ve co-sponsored and supported multiple bills on this with my fellow legislators. None of them have received a hearing.
- Assess no taxes on social security benefits. Multiple states have implemented this. Kansas should, as well.
As a final note, one of the main reasons we hold public hearings is so that constituents can contact their legislators about that are important to them, be it tax or otherwise. So please e-mail me at Dan.Osman@house.ks.gov or OsmanForKansas@gmail.com and let me know how I can best represent you in Topeka.