March 01, 2007

District 107th Constituents,

Hello from the State Capitol! The current legislative session is about 2/3rds through and I am looking forward to the final push for legislation in the coming weeks. This week, I was proud to support House Bill 2264 which provides tax relief for all Kansas seniors. This piece of legislation exempts income tax from Social Security benefits and gives some of our most vulnerable Kansans a break. Relieving the tax burden on seniors is an important issue to me, and I believe that this bill is an important step in making sure we have a responsible and fair tax system in Kansas.

We have continued to hear Senate bills along with some of our own House bills. The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has only had subcommittee meetings concerning playground equipment and ground cover made with recycled tires. The committee worked the bill for two meetings and will report to the Agriculture committee early next week. This bill along with the Republican River Basin Senate Bill 89 are very important to our area. Taxation has continued to work on the Homestead Act for Property Tax relief for homeowners and renters and the Corporate Tax reduction for businesses. Both bills may be debated on the house floor this coming week. Federal and State Affairs has only heard testimony on the Lottery and gaming in Kansas. One bill was sent out dealing with child support collection. All day Thursday and into the evening was spent on the floor working on the 2008 budget which is a very interesting process. We will vote on this bill Friday morning.

I had several people stop in this week from Concordia. Judie Deal with OCCK and Dr. Rick Underbakke from Cloud County Community College came by the office. They both watched me carry my third bill down to the "well" on the house floor. This bill concerning natural resource districts passed by the vote of 123-0. I had the pleasure of speaking to the Dickinson Leadership group Tuesday evening along with Senator Emler, Senator Brungardt, Rep. Josh Svaty and Tom Moxley. Several groups with mental health stopped in on Thursday and I was able to come out of the session for a few minutes to see them for a short time. It was very quick but special to all of us. I also had two groups of pages this week. My younger cousin Madison Davis and Kylie Kelly from Glasco and Tyler Breneman and Archie Husky from Lincoln were my pages on Monday. Paige Charbonneau, Lauren Forshee, Alisa Turner and Tyler Marks from Concordia Jr. High paged on Wednesday. Both groups met the Governor for a photo and the Concordia kids also had a brief meeting with the Speaker of the House, Melvin Neufeld and had their picture taken with him at the top of the House Floor in the Speaker’s chair.

One other important issue this session is state spending. The allocation of funds is a continual topic of conversation and as your representative it is my intent to be fiscally responsible. If we want to reverse the trend of Kansas Government growing faster than Kansas Incomes, then there must be responsible state spending. We must adequately fund programs that are essential to the function of government and society—those that are not must be carefully analyzed and questioned. I pledge to work hard and make sure that tax dollars are used wisely and for the benefit of all Kansans.

As always, please contact me if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. I am serving in Topeka for YOU!

Elaine Bowers

District 107th

Kansas House of Representative