News Release: Kansas Taxpayers Network Opposes New Tax On Elderly
A proposal to raise a new “assessment” or tax on nursing home bound Kansas elderly will have its first hearing in front of the Kansas senate’s Ways and Means Committee February 14. The new charge on nursing home residents will total $1,733.75 a year or $4.75 a day if the proposed bill, S.B. 585, becomes state law. Nursing home operators would be required to collect this charge from nursing home residents who are not covered by Medicaid or are in a veterans home. This legislation is structured to turn the nursing homes into unpaid tax collectors for the state and make them the fall guys by having this new charge hidden in their current bills.
“The proposed ‘assessment’ is actually a new and well hidden tax on the most frail and weak Kansans who are nursing home bound and in the twilight of their lives. Many of this nursing home residents and their families are struggling to pay their current nursing home bills without this massive new charge being added,” said Karl Peterjohn, executive director of the Wichita based Kansas Taxpayers Network. Peterjohn will be testifying in opposition to this proposed new state charge. Peterjohn’s committee testimony is below.
The Kansas Taxpayers Network has been testifying against a variety of proposed new taxes, fees, and charges coming out of the 2008 legislature. KTN has opposed raising state excise taxes, against the new carbon tax that would dramatically raise Kansans utility bills, and worked for a proposal to limit property tax growth. “Normally proposals to raise Kansas taxes follow an election year. So it is quite unusual to see so many tax hikes and other so called “revenue enhancements” appear this year. There seems to be a consensus that Americans in general and Kansans in particular do not mind seeing new or higher taxes and fees placed upon them. KTN’s supporters across Kansas remain opposed to seeing more of their hard earned money grabbed by government at all levels,” said Peterjohn.
KANSAS TAXPAYERS NETWORK
P.O. Box 20050
Wichita, KS 67208
316-684-0082 fax 316-684-7527
Testimony Opposing S.B. 585
By Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director
The legislation before you today would massively increase the cost of nursing care services to citizens who would need to come up with an additional $4.75 per day or $1,733.75 a year to reside in a Kansas nursing home. While this legislation is described as an assessment or fee, this actually appears to be much more like a tax on nursing home patients with their own private resources. Medicaid and certain other seniors would be exempt from this new tax.
There does not seem to be any visible benefit to the nursing home resident who will have to find the additional funds to pay for this new state imposed tax. Nursing home residents are by their very nature people who are in poor health and without the ability to generate additional income by going to work. In many cases their families are already struggling to pay the substantial bills that nursing home residency requires today. The additional revenue raised by this bill would be used to subsidize Medicaid recipients’ bills.
Adding an additional state charge while a loved one is struggling to regain or even maintain a level of life is a pernicious new burden to add to these elderly, sick, and the most frail Kansans. These are the weakest people who are facing a new cost that appears by this legislation to be largely hidden from them by the way it is going to be imposed under this bill.
S.B. 585 appears to hide this additional cost by forcing the nursing home operator to be the tax collector for this additional state charge. This is another new unfunded state mandate onto this residential industry in Kansas. The private sector in Kansas lacks the home rule powers that local units have that often allows the local governments to avoid or evade the state’s new mandates that are non uniform in Kansas law.
S.B 585 will make the nursing home industry serve as the tax collector for this new state tax burden. This is inappropriate too.
The creation of a new tax or all right, you can call it an assessment, is the worst type of way to show our responsible senior citizens who are in the twilight of their lives and see how they are treated in Kansas by our state government: badly.