Government Affairs

Government Affairs

KBIA Legislation Information
2009 Policy Positions |

2009 Policy Positions
Mission Statement:
KBIA supports legislation and policy that perpetuate the free enterprise system and promote a vigorous economic climate in Kansas and the Nation. Affordability in Housing is our major goal.

About KBIA:
Founded in 1978, the Kansas Building Industry Association (KBIA) is an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders and has local Home Builders Associations across Kansas. With more than 2,300 members representing 100,000 jobs and $2 billion of the Kansas economy, the Kansas Building Industry Association plays a crucial role in providing housing for Kansans. KBIA serves as an advocate for Kansas� housing industry, and as a corporate channel through which builders contribute time, money and services to local community service projects and education initiatives. As an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a federation of more than 850 state and local associations with 210,000 members nationwide, KBIA is part of the most influential and active organization representing the building industry. KBIA members include builders, remodelers, developers, suppliers, manufacturers, architects, engineers, real estate brokers, lenders, attorneys, insurance providers, and other industry professionals. There are, however, unintended consequences from legislative and regulatory actions that are counter to that goal and directly increase the cost of homebuilding without direct benefit to the homeowner. Traditionally, the home building industry drives the economy. In Kansas, homebuilding is dependent on industry and commerce to create jobs for workers who buy the products of the building industry. Therefore, legislation and policy that promote Affordability in Housing and encourage and foster industry and commerce in Kansas are the mission of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Kansas Building Industry Association.

KBIA has long been an advocate for Affordable Housing. In spite of widespread use of improved materials and techniques, the subsequent cost of houses has increased to the point where many people dedicated to public service can no longer afford to buy a home of their own. In large part that phenomenon is due, directly or indirectly, to persistent overregulation. Local governments, seeking to increase revenues without fighting the battle of increasing taxes, choose to impose a wide variety of fees and hidden taxes. We have already suggested that privatization could reduce the cost of infrastructure, but that is only the surface. State and local governing bodies must actively reduce the burden of local government taxes while working to streamline permitting, inspecting and maintaining public infrastructure. Local governments are attempting to make up shortfalls in payments from the Federal and State governments by adding fees and surcharges to the cost builders and developers have to pay for permits, connections, and access to public services, thereby harming one of the strongest segments of the Kansas economy.

Disaster Recovery Assistance:
KBIA supports proposals to provide state assistance in disaster areas, to help develop new housing and to spur business investment to assist the communities and families in those areas.

Housing Finance:
KBIA opposes creation of a housing finance authority. If the Legislature passes creation of a state housing finance authority, provision should be made for advisory council members with housing expertise. Local housing finance agencies should be continued and not precluded by any such state agency.

Housing Trust Fund:
Some entities have proposed raising funds for low-income housing trusts through a tax or fee on mortgage registrations. KBIA opposes raising funds for housing trusts by assessing home buyers. KBIA strongly opposes providing a dedicated revenue source for the Housing Trust Fund which is outside the appropriations process. Dedicated funding may be an acceptable option, but it is not acceptable to create an HTF which is in effect a giant slush fund, the expenditures from which are not approved by the Legislature. Programs and projects funded by the HTF should be approved through the legislative appropriations process.

Guidelines should be established for determining future boundaries, and the public should have input. Cities should be required to have a service plan to meet the needs of an area if they�re going to annex that area. Cities should be required to provide those services or relinquish the area. Cities should only annex an area if they have the resources to serve the area. The city�s performance in relation to the service plan should be reviewed by the county at least every five years.

Codes and Standards:
KBIA will oppose any attempt to impose a statewide building code or licensure for residential construction. This is an area of local jurisdiction.

Construction Safety Standards:
KBIA supports enforcement of job safety at the Federal level and opposes any State Legislation to create duplication of OSHA and supports federal initiatives for the reform of OSHA to be more consultative, rather than punitive.

Eminent Domain:
KBIA supports legislation to prevent federal, state and local governments from abusing the power of eminent domain provided by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; KBIA also supports the use of eminent domain, with just compensation, when a governmental entity will maintain ownership or control over the property (1) if the development or redevelopment of the property will by used by members of the general public or (2) if the project addresses infrastructure necessities, like public utilities or roads; KBIA also supports eminent domain, when a private party will maintain ownership or control over the property when the development or redevelopment plan meets the requirements of state slum, blight, contamination site, nuisance, or other similar statutes.

Environs Review:
KBIA supports legislation to reduce the requirements for the environs review for historicallly designated properties and/or to provide additional options for local governing bodies with regard to those properties.

Government Competition with the Private Sector:
KBIA opposes governmental programs which compete with the private sector. Government should not be in competition with its citizens and businesses by using taxpayer resources to compete against them. Proposals to utilize prison workers to build homes are only appropriate in the context of work release programs through the private sector.

Immigration Reform:
KBIA opposes illegal immigration and supports comprehensive reform that would protect our borders and ensure that foreign-born workers � who are vital to the housing industry and to the success of the U.S. economy as a whole � can legally enter the country to work. It is estimated that more than 20 percent of the national building industry�s entire workforce is foreign-born, making the immigrant population essential to meeting housing demand and sustaining economic growth in this country. While KBIA believes that border security reforms are important, it is also vital that immigration legislation must include a system by which immigrants can legally enter the country to work, because they are needed to sustain our nation�s workforce. KBIA believes this is an issue that must be resolved at the federal level, because a patchwork of state regulations is unworkable, and only the federal government can authorize legal entry into the country. A final reform package should:
� Protect our borders.
� Provide a process by which immigrants can legally enter the country to work to meet the labor demands of a growing economy.
� Create an enforcement system that is fair, efficient and workable for all U.S. employers.
� Place the responsibility of verifying a worker�s immigration status with the employer who hires and pays them and protect employers who follow the law and act in good faith.
� Establish a common-sense path for foreign workers to earn the right to apply for permanent legal status.

KBIA will work with other groups to improve efficiency and reduce costs of such things as infrastructure required as part of building and development, by promoting performance based standards for streets, sewers, drainage and utilities, employing design-build techniques where the builder/developer has complete control of the work up to point of a single inspection for acceptance by governing body.
Another example of recommended privatization is the use of private building and codes inspectors who would certify that provisions of the applicable codes have been met prior to certification by the governing body.

Homebuyers in Kansas are informed about the potential for radon through the real estate contract. Whether homebuyer or homeowner chooses to test for radon is, and should be, an individual decision.

Extension of Water Utilities to Developing Areas:
When an area is to be developed that is in a rural water district territory, but it is near a municipality and it is determined that the municipality is best equipped to provide water services to the new area, the rural water district should be compensated for the transfer of territory based on a reasonable determination of costs and loss of territory. Legislation is needed to provide quidance for this reasonable determination and an arbitration process should be negotiations fail.

Energy Efficiency and Green Building:
Thanks to more durable roof coverings, insulated windows, increased insulation, and high-efficiency heating, cooling, and water heating equipment, homes built today are 100% more energy-efficient than homes built in the 1970s. In the long-term, energy improvements can save homeowners money and help protect the environment. KBIA members are on the cutting edge of green building technologies. However, it is vital that elements of a home remain market-driven – the choice of the individual homebuyers to determine what elements are desirable and affordable by their family. Regulations should not prevent affordable yet energy efficient housing or make it impossible for some families to achieve the dream of home ownership because of well-intended but expensive regulations, requiring measures that are economically unfeasible or do not provide significant energy savings. KBIA supports the encouragement of new electric energy generation plants and technology with resource options to benefit consumers and the economy.

Workers Compensation:
KBIA will work with other interested groups to introduce and obtain passage of legislation that corrects flaws in present the Workers Compensation law. KBIA supports workers compensation as the sole remedy for work-related injuries and benefit equity for employers and employees.

Appraisal Of Real Property:
Valuations must be based on market value comparables, not equalization. Valuations must be kept current by professionals who are not tempted to improve the revenues of the taxing authorities for which they work, such as the recent attempt to boost the valuations of vacant lots by adding infrastructure financing debt to the sales price of lots as is still being done by the Saline County Appraiser, with the knowledge and approval of the Director of the State Property Valuation Department in spite of recent legislation which prohibits that practice. If this practice cannot be stopped by the State government, KBIA will support an appeal to establish a Court precedent on the issue. KBIA supports legislation to require the county to pay costs of a taxpayer where the county loses a BOTA case and appeals it. KBIA supports legislation to create a local appeals board. KBIA supports implementation of a uniform and industry acceptable valuation of real property in every Kansas County. KBIA opposes any attempt to remove the use-value method of valuation of land platted for development currently in agricultural use, or retroactively imposing a tax on that property once it is developed. KBIA endorses payment of interest on disputed taxes if the landowner prevails in the appeal process.

Limitation of Growth of Tax Revenue:
The current crisis facing the State of Kansas and local governments is directly related to the unprecedented increase on government spending during the economic boom of the 1990�s. KBIA supports the concept of limiting the growth of state tax revenue to the growth of personal income and will work for a state finance system which rewards legislative and administrative reductions in spending. KBIA will continue to oppose attempts by the state and local governments to increase their revenue by competing with private enterprise, especially where public records and information are involved.

Property Tax on Low Income Housing:
KBIA supports legislation to extend a property tax exemption to housing for elderly, persons with disabilities or persons with limited or low income where the property owner/operator is a limited partnership or a limited liability company formed for the purpose of development of low income housing to utilize income tax credits under section 42 of the internal revenue code of 1986, as amended, and comprised of a general partner or a managing member that is organized not-for-profit under the laws of the state of Kansas or organized not-forprofit under the laws of another state and duly admitted to engage in business in Kansas as a foreign, not-for-profit organization.

Sales Tax Exemption:
KBIA supports repeal of the sales tax on labor, overhead and profit for all construction activities of all types and sizes. Kansas can be competitive with adjacent states and obtain the economic benefits of increased employment and taxes gathered from construction only when these taxes are removed.

Sales Tax Exemption for Contractor Installed Infrastructure:
Charging retail sales tax rate on materials given to the public in the form of streets, sewers and other facilities required to be dedicated to a city or county government as a condition of approval of development projects prices many prospective homebuyers out of the market. KBIA supports legislation exempting those materials from sales tax.