Rahjes Report 12-12-16

Hello from Agra!  We are now less than a month from the start of the 2017 Kansas Legislative Session and the agenda is being developed and plans are being made.  Last Monday, new and returning members of the Kansas House of Representatives and Kansas Senate met to elect their leadership team for the next two years.  We are now anticipating which committees we will be assigned to and if we move offices in the state house.

Last spring, I sent a constituent survey out to gain insight on what your thoughts were on a number of issues and wanted to share some of them with you leading up to January.  This week it is agricultural land valuation.

The election this fall brought change to the make-up of the legislative bodies and one of the issues that once again is being talked about is how agricultural land is being valued.  Several years ago, legislation was passed to value agricultural land based on its production value.  (It is more complicated than that, but that is the basis of discussion.)  All property owners continue to feel the pinch of high property tax rates on all real estate, but to simply say agriculture is not paying its fair share is dangerous and disingenuous.  Not surprisingly, those who participated in the constituent survey overwhelmingly do not support restructuring how agricultural land is valued for production purposes or a surcharge on farmland.  Respondents also are not in favor of an increase in fuel tax, or changes on sales tax exemptions for charitable and religious organizations, manufacturing and agricultural equipment.

This fall there have been two topics that have been the top on constituent’s minds; Budget and Schools. There are several ideas being floated around, the first will be a revisit of the efficiency study which was released at the start of last session and look for ways to save money by combining services or pooling resources, the second will be adjusting the tax structure.  Any solution needs to have a long term plan, not a shock to the system to solve the issues in one package and not bring an honest evaluation of how it could bring another round of unintended consequences to the taxpayers of Kansas.

I look forward to seeing you out and about in the district before the legislature convenes in January.  If you have questions, or if I can be of service, please contact me:  Ken Rahjes, 1798 E. 900 Rd. Agra, KS 67621 or call (785) 302-8416.

Thank you for the opportunity to be your representative!