TIBA Weekly Legislative Update
Senate Bill 22
Failure to pass legislation decoupling the state and federal tax codes will prevent individuals and businesses from receiving the full benefit intended by the 2017 federal tax reform.
Provisions included in SB 22 would have also provided some parity for Kansas small businesses that compete with out-of-state online sellers by collecting sales tax on online sales from companies that do not have a physical presence in the state. SB 22 would have required any increase in revenues from this tax go directly toward a 1% reduction in the food sales tax.
The legislature is currently adjourned and will return for veto session on May 1.
House Bill 2209
HB 2209 was presented to the Governor on Tuesday, April 9 after passing the House with a vote of 84-39 and the Senate with a vote of 28-12. This bill includes provisions from two previously separate bills authorizing Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) member health plans and expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs).
Kansas Farm Bureau Member Health Plans. This legislation includes measures authorizing the Kansas Farm Bureau to develop healthcare benefit coverage for Farm Bureau members in Kansas in response to KFB members asking for relief from onerous health care costs.
Those who stand to gain the most are Kansans without access to a group insurance plan and making at or above 300 percent of the federal poverty level as these individuals don't qualify for any subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Typically, these individuals are buying their own individual coverage or are uninsured. Note: anyone can join the Kansas Farm Bureau for only $50. An agricultural background is not required.
Association Health Plans. Expanded availability of Association Health Plans was brought about by an executive order signed by President Trump in 2017. HB 2209 changes the regulation of AHPs and small employer plans.
These provisions would, among other things, remove a membership limitation placed on AHPs requiring the association have at least 25 members, employees or employees of members to be offered group coverage.
Association health plans will offer the most coverage and likely have the broadest financial impact. By adding to several association health plans which have been grandfathered in, Kansas small businesses will have more options to offer their employees health insurance.
Media Analyses: March Job Creation Has Recovered from February's "Blip."
CNBC reported that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday shows that "job creation posted a solid rebound in March, with nonfarm payrolls expanding by 196,000 and the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.8%.
According to AP, "the unemployment figures...suggest that February's anemic job growth - revised to 33,000 from an initial 20,000 - was merely a temporary blip and that businesses are confident the economy remains on a firm footing."
The New York Times said, "the gain in hiring, though widely forecast, will help clear some of the doubts hanging over the economy." The Times added, "though the economy is expected to slow this year from the strong pace of 2018, Friday's report was a welcome sign."
The Washington Post said, "the U.S. job market returned to normal in March with robust hiring and wage growth across many industries, easing fears about the economy's health after hiring cratered in February." A front-page Wall Street Journal article provided similar coverage.