State Treasurer Estes Thanks Governor Brownback for Signing Disability Savings Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. – State Treasurer Ron Estes thanked Governor Sam Brownback today for signing HB 2216 for the Kansas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program.

Gov. Sam Brownback signs HB 2216

Gov. Sam Brownback signs HB 2216 while joined by the state treasurer, state legislators and members of disabled advocacy groups who were instrumental in the success of the bill April 29, 2015.

The program, introduced by Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes and Representative Erin Davis (R-Olathe) in January, is an initiative that will provide individuals living with disabilities a new way to save for their future.

“I’d like to thank Governor Brownback, Representative Davis, Senators Baumgardner and Smith; Jawanda Mast, and the many disabled advocacy groups for their support of this initiative,” said Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes. “The signing of this bill marks yet another milestone for the Kansas ABLE Savings Program as it marks one step closer to our end-goal of helping Kansans living with disabilities take charge of their future.”

The Kansas ABLE Savings Program will be administered by the State Treasurer’s Office and will allow disabled individuals and their families to save for their child’s future education, health and wellness costs, housing, transportation and related expenses in a tax-deferred savings account comparable to a Roth IRA.

“Under current law individuals with disabilities face significant challenges when it comes to maintaining employment and living an independent life since access to certain Federal support programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income can be lost if they exceed an asset ceiling limit of $2,000 in savings,” explained Estes. “This restriction is particularly concerning as it makes any degree of long-term financial planning extremely difficult and creates a disincentive to work.”

Assets in ABLE accounts will be sheltered from asset tests for Medicaid and Social Security Disability benefits within limits established by federal legislation.

Children and adults whose disability occurred before age 26 and who meet Social Security disability standards or have a disability certification will be eligible to have an ABLE account. Friends and relatives will be able to contribute up to $14,000 per beneficiary each year.

“Now that we’ve worked our way through the legislative process, we plan to immediately shift efforts to the nuts and bolts of building this program and will continue to see this initiative through to the finish line,” said Estes.

Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers’ Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth-generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.

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For more information:
Ashley Murdie
Director of Communications
785.296.3538
ashley@treasurer.ks.gov

State Treasurer Warns of Telephone Scam Requesting Taxes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

April 28,2015

TOPEKA, Kan. — State Treasurer Ron Estes warns Kansans of suspicious phone calls using the number for the Unclaimed Property Division on caller ID to make it appear that the state or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is calling to request taxes.  State Treasurer Ron Estes

The automated phone calls claim to be part of the IRS and state that individuals still owe taxes. The recording then directs callers to select a preferred payment plan.

“These automated phone calls should be ignored as they are not being sent from our Unclaimed Property Division,” said Ron Estes, Kansas State Treasurer. “I urge all Kansans to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS or Kansas state agencies as a lure and avoid responding.”

Estes reminds Kansans that the State Treasurer’s Office will never request individuals to provide personal information to an automated phone call or charge a fee to return unclaimed property—both common indicators of scams related to unclaimed property in the past.

“If you ever question the validity of any correspondence or phone calls related to the State Treasurer’s Office, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for verification,” said Estes. “We take great pride in the integrity of our program and work hard to ensure safeguards are in place to protect personal information and unclaimed property belonging to Kansans.”

Kansans who receive suspicious phone calls claiming to be from the IRS can call and report them to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.  Kansans who believe they may have unclaimed property available to claim at the State Treasurer’s Office should search the state’s official website, http://www.kansascash.com, or call the Unclaimed Property Division at 1-800-432-0386 (toll free).

Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers’ Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth-generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.

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For more information:
Ashley Murdie,
Director of Communications
785.296.3538
ashley@treasurer.ks.gov

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Treasurer’s Top 10: Republic County

This week, we highlight Republic County! Here’s a look at the Top 10 people there with unclaimed assets. Do you know anyone below?Republic County Courthouse

If so, have them check out www.kansascash.com  and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 800-432-0386 (toll-free) or 785-296-4165.

1. Marguerite Snedden

2. Charles A. Smith

3. Sylvia Kvasnicka

4. Mary Blakslee Emery

5. Lena Ledbetter

6. Max Krummel

7. Gladys Thomas

8. Albert English

9. Carol Lee Smith

10. Ralph Standley

Kansas State Treasurer Estes Applauds Legislature’s Support of Pension Bonding for KPERS

RELEASED: April 2, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. – State Treasurer Ron Estes commended the Kansas Legislature today for passing a bill that would allow the use of $1 billion in pension bonds to support the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System.

Now that SB 228 (originally introduced as HB 2095 and SB 168) has been approved by the entire Legislature, the bill will now go to Governor Sam Brownback for action. Then the state will issue the bonds to invest their proceeds into the Kansas Public Employees Trust Fund. In doing so, the proceeds will be combined with the trust fund’s additional investments to increase potential earnings for the state and reduce the unfunded liability.

“I applaud our state Legislators who’ve supported this bill; and, in doing so, have contributed to a solution aimed at saving Kansas taxpayers money over the long haul,” said Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes.

This method has been used successfully by the state before explained Estes.  In 2004, the state issued $500 million in pension bonds at a 5.39 percent interest rate.  Since then the KPERS fund has earned an average 7.45 percent interest on those investments, resulting in $174 million of profit for the state.

Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers’ Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth-generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.

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For more information:

Ashley Murdie
Director of Communications
785.296.3538
ashley@treasurer.ks.gov

 

Kansas Legislature Passes Bill to Create State Disability Savings Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. – Today the Kansas Legislature passed a bill authorizing the Kansas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program, an initiative that will provide individuals living with disabilities a new way to save for their future.

Representative Erin Davis (R-Olathe)

Representative Erin Davis (R-Olathe) speaking in support of the Kansas ABLE Act during the House debate April 1, 2015 at the Kansas State Capitol.

The program, introduced by Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes and Representative Erin Davis (R-Olathe) in January, was nearly halted in the legislative process until Senators Greg Smith (R – Overland Park) and Molly Baumgardner (R – Louisburg) included the ABLE Act language in a separate financial services bill, HB 2216.

The bill passed in the House with a 116 – 4 vote and now heads to Governor Sam Brownback’s desk for signature.

“I’m elated that we’ve successfully crossed this first milestone and look forward to seeing this initiative through to the finish line,” said Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes.

“Passage of the Kansas ABLE Savings Program has opened the door for Kansans living with disabilities to take charge of their future.”

The Kansas ABLE Savings Program will be administered by the State Treasurer’s Office and will allow disabled individuals and their families to save for their child’s future education, health and wellness costs, housing, transportation and related expenses in a tax-deferred savings account comparable to a Roth IRA.

“Under current law individuals with disabilities face significant challenges when it comes to maintaining employment and living an independent life since access to certain Federal support programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income can be lost if they exceed an asset ceiling limit of $2,000 in savings,” explained Estes. “This restriction is particularly concerning as it makes any degree of long-term financial planning extremely difficult and creates a disincentive to work.”

Assets in ABLE accounts will be sheltered from asset tests for Medicaid and Social Security Disability benefits within limits established by federal legislation.

“With the Kansas ABLE Savings Program Kansas families like mine will be able to save for their children so that they may have a secure and independent future without the fear of losing their eligibility for important Federal benefits,” said Jawanda Mast, parent of Rachel Mast who both testified in support of the Kansas ABLE bill in February.

Children and adults whose disability occurred before age 26 and who meet Social Security disability standards or have a disability certification will be eligible to have an ABLE account. Friends and relatives will be able to contribute up to $14,000 per beneficiary each year.

“I’m proud to have been a part of this collective effort and am especially grateful for the unwavering support and dedication of our disabled advocacy groups and state legislators who served as a driving force behind this success,” said Representative Erin Davis (R-Olathe).

Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers’ Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth-generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.

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Treasurer’s Top 10: Kingman County

This week, we highlight Kingman County! Here’s a look at the Top 10 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you know anyone below?Kingman County Courthouse

If so, have them check out www.kansascash.com  and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 800-432-0386 (toll-free) or 785-296-4165.

1. Melissa Molitor

2. George Gerber

3. Sarah Sanders

4. Dennis Gress

5. James Watkins

6. Randy L. Barnes

7. Clifford L. Bertholf

8. Rebekah Dirks

9. S. Bruce Livingston

10. Ralph White