Home Page / About Ed Trimmer / Links / Current Legislative Updates

 

ISSUES PAGE
FOR A MORE DETAILED EXPLANATION SIMPLY CLICK ON THE UNDERLINED TOPIC TITLE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE STATEMENT

TAX ISSUES

I support a fair tax system that doesn't overburden business or property owners and one in which everyone pays their fair share. I also believe tax breaks should go to the job creators not the profit takers.

EDUCATION ISSUES

I am pro-child. I support public education, K-12 and beyond. We should have accountability but should also adequately fund public schools as three studies, funded by the Legislature, have told us we need to do.

LANDOWNER'S PROPERTY RIGHTS

Landowner's property rights should be protected and the burden of taxation should not be shifted to the property owner.

IMMIGRATION

"Illegal is illegal" is just a slogan. We need a morally consistent policy.

KANSAS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM

We should have a system that provides the best benefit for employees at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.

HEALTH CARE ISSUES

We need a State system that provides quality care and encourages prevention while promoting cost efficient health delivery models.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Religious freedom is the right of all Americans, but it should not be used as an excuse to discriminate or as a campaign tactic.

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The second amendment does guarantee law-abiding citizens the right to own guns and I support that right within reason.

LIFE ISSUES

I do not believe in abortion on demand or that abortion should be an easy form of birth control but I do believe being pro-life is more than just being pro birth.

 

 

TAX ISSUES

I have been attacked by a couple of well-funded PACs, the Kansas Chamber and American's for Prosperity, both of which receive considerable funding from the Koch brothers. These groups are the ones that supported the 2012 Brownback elimination of income taxes for many business and corporations. Those who benefited the most from not paying their fair share of taxes, are spending millions of dollars statewide to attack and misrepresent the reasoning and the motivation of both Democrats and Republicans who voted to end the policy. Here is the rest of the story.

In 2017, I voted to end the failed Brownback economic experiment. It was unfair and benefited the largest LLC's and wealthiest individuals in Kansas the most. It forced local governments to increase local property tax to survive without the revenue-sharing they no longer receive from the State. The State had seen its bond rating lowered three times. Projections for 2018, and years thereafter, looked more and more dire, with deficits of more than $1 billion per year. We could not borrow any more money from agencies or the highway fund. The economy was not growing and there was a net job decrease. The House and Senate, myself included, voted to end the tax disaster and put the State on a firm financial footing. When then Governor Brownback tried to veto the change, 2/3 of the House and Senate, over half of which were Republican, voted to override the veto.

In 2018, we have finally seen things turn around. The economy is growing and employment is up. We were able to pass a structurally balanced budget, put money back into the highway fund, send money to local governments for property tax reduction, give raises to corrections officers and court employees, many of whom had not seen a raise in 10 years, improve our internet security, fund programs for the elderly, improve mental health initiatives, make our full KPERS payment, and put some money into early childhood programs. We could do all of this and still have enough revenue left to adequately fund education.

You are hearing we have a spending problem not a revenue problem. What we had was a debt problem from an unfair and harmful tax policy.

 

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION ISSUES

The Legislature has now funded three studies, which demonstrate that, while Kansas public schools are extremely efficient with the use of their resources, they are significantly under-funded. There are two camps in the Legislature regarding school funding. The majority wants to fund schools adequately. The others do not. The propose a constitutional amendment to bar the court from ruling on adequacy issues.

Adequacy

I believe we should adequately fund schools. The only reason the Legislature is in a lawsuit now is because the State failed to live up to the terms agreed to in the last lawsuit. The Kansas Supreme Court did not overstep their authority. The State appealed a lower court ruling to the Supreme Court. The only criteria either side had to define adequacy was what was outlined in the three studies paid for by the Legislature. Each time the court has given the legislature time to fix the funding, the Legislature has failed to comply. Had they simply complied at any point, there would be no more litigation.

With the money appropriated in 2018 we should be able to meet the adequacy test with just a little more effort. Most financial experts agree we have the funds without raising taxes. The court suggested in June, we increase funding using the same consumer price index measurement that I proposed twice last session. That can be done and still have an ending balance for next year. I would like to return to Topeka and finish the process

Constitutional Amendment

A constitutional amendment, which would remove the courts ability to rule on the adequacy of funding, will not stop lawsuits. The amendment is being proposed by individuals in the Legislature who have demonstrated they do not want to fund public schools. They continually vote for lower levels of funding. When funding is inadequate, history tells us that inequities will eventually appear. The Supreme Court will always be able to rule on equity issues.

A constitutional Amendment is supported by legislators who are the least likely to adequately fund education. An amendment of this nature would also distort out system of checks and balances.

 

 

 

 

LANDOWNER PROPERTY RIGHTS

I believe that all landowners deserve representation in any effort to control what they do with their land.

  • I have opposed the use of Eminent Domain to condemn property for a private entity simply because that entity can produce more economic growth with the land.

  • I also supported measures that protected non-productive agriculture land from being classified commercial land if used for recreational hunting.

  • I did not support a bill that would allow counties to take possession of blighted land to cover the cost of clean up.

  • Finally, I supported restrictions on annexation and required that cities provide services in a timely manner to any area of a county annexed by that city.

Lastly, I believe the burden of taxation should not be shifted to the property owner, which is one of the reasons why I voted to reinstate the income tax on businesses and corporations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMMIGRATION

As a State, we must make a decision. If we want to stop illegal immigration, we need to make sure that businesses do not knowingly and willingly hire undocumented workers. Jobs are the magnet for illegal immigration. If, however, we believe the Kansas Chamber of Commerce who says we need the labor, then we need to treat these immigrants and their children as human beings. We should not deny them education or health care. To do anything less would be economic slavery. Whatever our position, it should be morally consistent.

 

 

 

 

KANSAS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM

As a member of the KPERS Study Commission, I helped pass a 2012 bill that addressed the $9 billion unfunded liability in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. It uses a combination of gaming revenue, increased employer contributions, and increased employee contributions (with a better end benefit) to eliminate the liability by 2033. In July of 2014, we thought we had good news. Our plan reduced the unfunded liability by almost $500 million in just two years. Then, Governor Brownback and some in the Legislature began to delay the 4th quarter payment. We finally had enough money this past session to fully fund KPERS and begin paying back the deferred 4th quarter payments. This is yet another reason I voted to overturn the Brownback tax disaster.

The reason the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System has had such a large liability is due to significant under-funding since 1992 and the poor economy. Retirees have been paying in 4% to 6% while the State has only been paying .6%. If the State had just paid the actuarial rate since 1992, we would not have a problem today. It is important to note that KPERS is a good plan but is not an overly rich benefit plan. Retirees in most cases will make about half of what they made when working.

 

 

 

 

HEALTH CARE ISSUES

I have always supported the expansion of Medicaid. This does not mean I support the Affordable Health Care Act. It would cost the state almost nothing to expand Medicaid. It would help over 150,000 Kansans, help keep rural hospitals open, and reduce emergency room visits. The federal dollars it would bring back to Kansas comes from the taxes we pay to the federal government . Those dollars should come back to Kansas.

We also have long waiting lists for disabled persons and veterans to get home and community based services. Home and community based programs are much cheaper than institutionalized care. The choice is to pay for less costly care now or more expensive care later.

I did not support the interstate compact that would allow Medicare dollars to be given to the State and privatized the way Medicaid has been. KanCare, Kansas' privatized Medicaid system, has proven difficult to enroll in, difficult to get approved for, and difficult to get paid from in a timely manner.

 

 

 

 

 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

I believe religious freedom is the right of all Americans, but that it should not be used as an excuse for the government to discriminate against individuals or as a campaign tactic. This year’s religious freedom bill allowed some faith based adoption agencies to discriminate based on their religious beliefs. This was not just a gender issue, but also included the married status of the applicant.

Before the new law, faith based agencies just referred those they could not serve to another agency without a reason other than they couldn't handle their case. Under the new law they can make the same referral but can be open about their discrimination because the law allows it. Nothing will change in terms of the number of agencies that exist or the number of adoptions that will take place. The only difference is that discrimination is now written into state law. It is a court case just waiting to happen, at the expense of tax-payers.

It was clear that the bill was an example of what is referred to in Topeka as “Post Card” or "Gotcha" legislation. A vote against the bill would get the post card “John Doe is against Religious Freedom.” Please do not be persuaded by that tactic!

It is important that legislators and voters, alike, understand that a piece of legislation is more than just its title.

 

 

 

SECOND AMENDMENT

I believe law-abiding citizens have the constitutional right to own guns. I believe a recent Supreme Court decision makes the second amendment an individual right, just as the other amendments in the Bill of Rights are individual rights.

I voted to legalize conceal/carry in Kansas. I voted to re-affirm this second amendment right in Kansas by allowing weapons made in Kansas, which never leave the state, to be regulated by the state and not the federal government.

I also believe it is my job to represent the communities in my district. When community members, elected officials, local law enforcement officers and officials of colleges in my district asked me to continue to allow local entities to regulate weapons in court houses, city buildings and college dormitories, I believe it is my responsibility to listen to the wishes of my local communities. I voted to continue to allow that decision to be made at the local level.

Under current law, local school boards can arm teachers and staff members if they choose. I do not support making it a requirement.

 

 

 

LIFE ISSUES

I believe we have gone about as far as we can go in limiting abortions in Kansas without a change in federal law or a new federal court precedent. I also believe that being pro-life isn’t just about being pro-birth. That is why I promote early childhood programs, public education, and health care programs for all children. Many in the Legislature profess to be pro-life and then vote to cut any program relating the quality of life (children, developmental disabilities, veterans, seniors, public education).

I have never voted for abortion "on demand"! I do believe that in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the health of the mother, the decision should be left to the family and a qualified physician, not the State.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This web page was created by Ed Trimmer
and paid for by the Ed Trimmer Campaign Fund
Kris Trimmer, Treasurer