TOPEKA — The sales tax will go up by a penny and failing to buckle up could cost you a $5 fine after July 1.
Nursing homes will also pay a fee for every registered bed but schools, social services and public safety programs won't be cut in a series of bills signed into law Thursday.
The new laws were passed by lawmakers this month. Gov. Mark Parkinson signed the measures into law Thursday, the day before the Legislature returned for Sine Die — the largely ceremonial final day of session.
Parkinson, a Democrat, signed the $13.6 billion spending package passed by the Legislature. He vetoed 11 budget items.
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He also approved a three-year, 1-cent sales tax increase, which will pump about $314 million in to state coffers and plug a shortfall in the approved budget.
The sales tax increase and the 2011 budget take effect July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
"I could not be more proud of Kansas. After rounds of budget cuts to our state's schools, public safety programs and aid to the elderly and disabled, we were faced with a critical decision — either keep cutting and do permanent damage to the foundation of our state, or pass a temporary one-cent sales tax to move our state forward," said Parkinson in a written statement.
The state sales tax rate will increase to 6.3 percent, up from the current 5.3 percent. After three years, the rate will roll back to 5.7 percent with the remaining 4/10ths of a cent funding transportation projects.
The budget with minimal cuts and a secure revenue stream for the future will help the state prepare for economic recovery, he said.
Through his vetoes Parkinson:
* Removed a 5 percent pay cut for state elected officials, their staff and top-ranked government managers and judges, saying it would have mostly affected the state court system, which is already furloughing employees.
* Eliminated a cut of more than $900,000 from Public Broadcasting Operating Grants. Parkinson said the cut "would be particularly damaging to stations in rural Kansas, likely silencing an important voice for our rural communities."
* Vetoed a provision that blocked the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from drafting rules on greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked by scientists to global warming. The provision could have handed authority over air quality permits to the federal government.
* Removed a provision that would have blocked Planned Parenthood from accessing a federal grant for family planning services. The money cannot be used for abortions.
On Thursday, Parkinson also signed a bill that allows law enforcement officers to stop and ticket drivers if they and their passengers are not buckled in. Kansas law already requires drivers to wear seat belts, but law enforcement could only issue a ticket if they pull the vehicle over for another violation.
Beginning July 1, the fine will be $5. After July 1, 2011, the fine will increase to $10.
By passing the new seat belt law Kansas will receive $11 million from the federal government, $10 million of which goes into the state general fund. The remaining $1 million must be used for public safety programs.
Parkinson also approved an annual tax on all registered nursing home beds, up to $1,950 a year. Nursing care facilities that are part of a continuing-care retirement facility, small skilled-nursing care facilities and facilities with high numbers of Medicaid patients would pay up to about $330.
The money will be used to bring in additional federal matching dollars that will help cover the cost of patients who use Medicaid to pay for their long-term care and to offset a 10 percent reduction in Medicaid provider rates implemented last year.