Kansas Small Businesses Were Big Winners in Legislature

Date: May 31, 2014

Related Content: News State Kansas

The Legislature has wrapped up its 2014 regular session. Here’s a look at some of the bills we followed that affect small-business owners like you:

Taxes

  • Fought for reforms to the
    Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. The new law makes several positive changes to
    improve access and adjudication for tax payers, including small business, who
    are dissatisfied with local property tax assessments.
  • Fought for a bill that requires new transparency
    measures in property tax.  The new
    law will shed light on municipalities when they increase property tax
    revenue through increased valuation. As many small businesses have
    experienced, this often serves as a backdoor tax increase and requires no
    action by the municipal governing body.

Health insurance

  • Secured passage of a bill
    which allows small businesses to band together and buy health insurance through
    self funded association health plans. 
    This will allow employers to voluntarily join with other employers to
    form larger, more stable risk pools. These association plans can move participating
    small businesses toward a more level playing field with larger entities.
  • Won passage of a bill which includes
    a provision requiring an act of the Legislature to expand
    Medicaid, as anticipated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
    the federal health-care law better known as Obamacare. This ensures Medicaid
    expansion won’t occur in Kansas until at least the next legislative session.
  • Stopped several bills
    which would have mandated new health insurance benefits.  These mandates increase the cost of health
    insurance for small business.  

Legal reform

  • Fought for a bill to
    codify liability protections for small businesses against trespassers.  The new law provides long-term certainty that
    small businesses won’t be subject to financial ruin
    because a trespasser—a
    criminal—sustains an injury while trespassing on a small business owner’s
    property.
  • Secured passage of a bill
    which ensures that proper standards are placed on scientific evidence presented
    in court, keeping junk science and speculation from tainting a jury. Liability
    reforms, like this, inject a measure of fairness into a legal system that
    currently preys on business, often without regard to legal merit.
  • Fought for a bill that
    preserves our non-economic damage caps. The new law addresses a warning from
    the Kansas Supreme Court that our statutory caps may not meet Constitutional
    muster.  If we were to lose the caps,
    medical malpractice and liability insurance premiums will soar and drive
    businesses and doctors from Kansas.

Human resources

  • Beat back attempts to increase the
    state minimum wage. 
    The bills would have increased the minimum wage to $10.10 and permanently
    index it to inflation. Like most government mandates on business, raising the
    minimum wage will have a deep and disproportionate impact on the small-business
    sector.
  • A bill passed allowing
    employers to improve their unemployment insurance rate by “buying up” rate
    groups. Currently employers are restricted to buying up 5 rate groups, this
    bill removes that limitation.  The new
    law will give small businesses some flexibility to decrease their UI tax rate.

PHOTO: Aviper2k7/Wikipedia

Related Content: News | State | Kansas

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