TOPEKA — The House Committee on Taxation met April 3 to discuss a bill that would provide the possibility of sales tax exemption for nonprofit integrated community care organizations.

SB 178 was introduced to the Senate on Feb. 13 at the request of Midland Care Connection, a hospice care center in Topeka, and was passed as amended with 39 in favor and none in opposition. The bill was then introduced to the House on March 22.

The definition of a nonprofit integrated community care organization, according to the Department of Revenue, is currently applicable to only one organization, which would qualify for the tax exemption.

According to the bill’s fiscal note, in order to receive the sales tax exemption, the nonprofit integrated community care organization would have to meet the following requirements: be exempt from federal income taxes, certified to participate in the Medicare Program as a hospice, and be approved by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

Karren Weichert, CEO from Midland Care Connection, Inc. testified as a proponent for the bill and elaborated on the bill’s influence.

“The impact on the state would be $275,000 but the impact to our patients and families would be significant,” Weichert said. “It would mean 1,617 more days of hospice care, 55 months of care for PACE participants or 55,000 more home-delivered meals.”

The Department of Revenue estimates that SB 178 would decrease state revenues by $257,000 in the 2020 fiscal year. Of that, $215,000 would come from the State General Fund, while the State Highway Fund is estimated to decrease by $41,500.

Olivia Schmidt is a University of Kansas senior studying journalism.

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