2016 Spring Forward
655 Solomon Ln, Tipton, KS 67485
THIS IS AN IMMEDIATE CALL FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION
I am asking all CKLS member libraries, local public library board members and interested community advocates to contact House Representatives IMMEDIATELY by email, phone, in person and through any social media asking them to OPPOSE HOUSE BILL 2719 (http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/hb2719/).
Why this call to action? This bill will end Kansas public library service as we now know it.
HB2719 was introduced and referred to the Committee on Taxation on March 8th. A hearing has already been scheduled for Monday, March 14th at 3:30 p.m. in room 582-N.
If you do not know who your House representative is, you can find that information by your address at: http://openstates.org/
If your House representative is serving on the “Committee on Taxation,” it is especially important that he be contacted. You can find a list of the committee members at:
The Kansas Library Association’s Government Affairs Committee has developed three talking points to illustrate some of the effects on library service by the proposed changes to regional library system funding.
This is a 26 page bill (please try to read it); it includes proposed changes to local public library funding. However, in the interest of keeping the message simple, the current talking points are targeted at regional library system impact.
Under each point, I’ve detailed what HB 2719 means for CKLS member libraries:
Point #1: All library materials across the state can currently be shared efficiently and effectively through existing programs. Loss of regional library system services due to this legislation would eliminate these programs and deny residents access to reliable, accurate information. Sharing keeps everyone’s tax dollars lower.
Impact in CKLS: The Pathfinder Central Shared Catalog is entirely paid for by CKLS and the statewide courier system costs for member libraries are heavily subsidized by CKLS. The ability to subsidize and manage these services will be severly jeopardized by the mill level limitation listed in HB 2719 for regional library systems.
Point #2: 32.4% of libraries in Kansas have budgets less than $20,000. These libraries cannot survive without grants and professional services from the regional library systems. Without regional library system support, 48 communities lose their libraries; 58 more would be at risk.
Impact in CKLS: The 2016 CKLS budget provides $500,000 for library grants. If CKLS is forced to reduce these grants, libraries with already limited budgets could be at risk. 29 CKLS public libraries have budgets under $20,000 and the services and hours they offer would be severely limited. That is 52.7% of CKLS libraries. CKLS would suffer the greatest loss of libraries amongst the 7 Regional Library Systems.
Point #3: Regional library systems publish their budgets and conduct annual public budget hearings. There is oversight at multiple levels. The statutory processes provided for budget oversight for regional library systems have worked well for 50 years. Regional library systems have proven to be prudent and fiscally responsible.
Impact in CKLS: HB 2719 would require CKLS to hold annual special elections in its taxing areas in its 15 taxing counties. These would most likely be mail ballot elections, which could cost $3.00 or more per ballot and the cost would be borne by CKLS. There is no remedy or recourse if the elections fail to approve a budget.
HB 2719 sets each regional library system mill levy cap at .75 mills. If this limitation stands, the Central Kansas Library System would lose almost $790,000 of its current operating budget (a 46% budget reduction).
This bill is meant to empower the citizens of Kansas. We need to demonstrate how Kansans empower themselves and each other under the current statutes. Regional library system legislation was the result of a 1964 legislative reference committee report. Public library law was first enacted in 1886.
Do not hesitate to contact CKLS if you need more information. Time is of the essence -- make a contact and ask for a NO vote.