Area state legislators and Geary County officials are not in favor of proposed Kansas House Bill 2142. That was clear during a Chamber of Commerce hosted legislative coffee on Saturday.
Trish Giordano, Geary County Commission Chair, told the elected officials the proposed bill would require Kansas counties to reimburse businesses for property taxes if they were shut down or had their capacity limited during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I wanted to hear what you thought about that. I know it's going to be debated on Tuesday, and I think that that would be very detrimental and cause a huge burden on us for sure, and I'm sure many other counties."
State Senator Tom Hawk said he would not support the bill. State Representative Dave Baker said the reality is that there has not been enough research on the measure. "And I don't think in the hearing this next week we'll have enough information to move me from an opponent to a proponent."
Baker noted that he had heard loud and clear from his county commissioners. He said there is a group in Geary County that have no problem calling him from the County ( Offices ), "and telling me how the cows eat the cabbage. And they made that call. " Baker stressed that he would not be supporting the bill.
Hawk also stated the Governor just announced a federal paycheck protection program and that there will be more PPP money coming out. He indicated that five or six billion dollars in federal money has already been invested, and that does not include what the states and counties have paid with their SPARK money. "I don't think it is fair to hang that on the counties to reimburse it, and certainly isn't affordable."
State Senator Jeff Longbine said he agreed with his colleagues. He noted that Phase Two of PPP is open now and applications are available at financial institutions. For second round participation you must demonstrate that your business was down at least 25% for a quarter. "But there are also new provisions for those that weren't in the first round and there are also new provisions for those that are self-employed, sole proprietorships, those type of things, where they can get reimbursement of some wages. I would encourage people to talk to their financial institutions now because that is open."