One of the bills in Tom Sawyer's 9 point plan to increase jobs in Wichita and Kansas was a bill to provide educational tax credits for aerospace industry workers. The provisions of that bill passed this year in HB 2239:
The bill encourages workers to consider a career in the Kansas aerospace industry by creating a $5,000 tax credit for taxpayers who become qualified employees during the taxable year and for four succeeding years of employment. This $25,000 incentive over five years is designed to attract Kansans and out-of-state workers to remain or locate to Kansas for available aviation jobs.
The bill also provides a tac credit to employers for paying for tuition for their workers. As an incentive to increase the aerospace industry talent pool in Kansas, the bill encourages aviation employers to offer tuition reimbursement for their employees by providing a tax credit for tuition, capped at 50% of the total reimbursement, paid to qualifying employees who graduate from an accredited engineering or technology undergraduate or graduate degree program, an associate of applied science degree program, or a career technical program. This credit can be claimed if the qualified employee graduates from a qualified program within one year of obtaining employment and may be claimed each year for up to four years.
Oklahoma has successfully used this program to increase their aviation jobs and frankly steal workers from Kansas. This program should help keep and increase good paying aviation industry jobs in Wichita.
2016 Eagle Endorsement:
Incumbent Democrat Tom Sawyer is the best choice in this central Wichita district. Sawyer has extensive political experience, including having served as House majority leader and as the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998. He works across party lines to reach solutions- the type of lawmaker we need in Topeka. He would deal with the budget shortfalls by cutting waste and improving efficiency and by eliminating the tax exemption on pass-through business income. "We need all Kansans to pay their fair share," he said.
2014 Eagle Endorsement:
Democratic incumbent Tom Sawyer is the clear choice in this central Wichita district. Sawyer has extensive political experience, including having served as House majority leader and as the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998. He is also active in the community, having served on many civic boards and committees. He thinks the biggest state issues are the budget problems and improving funding for education. Sawyer is a respected and needed voice for common sense in Topeka.
2012 Eagle Endorsement:
Voters in this west-central Wichita district should return longtime Democratic legislator Tom Sawyer to the House after his stint on the now-disbanded Kansas Parole Board. Sawyer is a former House majority and minority leader and was his party's gubernatorial nominee in 1998. His knowledge, experience and balanced, commonsense approach to lawmaking would be invaluable next session, when so many legislators will be new.
Republican Benny Boman has had a weak first term, tilting at windmills like Agenda 21 and favoring tax cuts at all costs.
-Wichita Eagle Editorial Endorsement 10/26/2012
On June 11, 2012 Tom Sawyer announced that he was once again running for State Representative.
He filed because he was sick and tired of watching the current legislature bicker and fight and fail to get things done.
Tom Sawyer was frustrated seeing the legislature fight and get very little accomplished over the last couple of years.
He couldn't believe they were unable to agree on a sensible tax plan for the state of Kansas.
He couldn't believe they passed a budget that is projected to leave the state with a huge deficit in a few years.
He couldn't believe they passed a school finance plan that forces school districts such as the Wichita district to close neighborhood schools.
The last straw was when the Kansas Legislature failed to do their job and draw maps for the Kansas House, Senate, the Kansas Congressional districts and the State Board of Education. Kansas was the only legislature in the whole country that failed to do their job and draw election district maps. What they couldn't do in 99 days, 3 Federal court judges accomplished in 8 days.
When Tom Sawyer served in the Kansas House he had the reputation of working across party lines to get things done. During his 18 years of public service, he served in several leadership positions including House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader. He worked hard to improve the lives of Kansas families.
Among his many accomplishments: He worked to cut our property taxes in Wichita by 29% in 1992, He worked with Governor Graves to cut car taxes in half over 5 years and to provide a Homestead Property Tax exemption for Homeowners, He led the charge to improve our governmental ethics laws in Kansas, to re-write our school finance formula to improve our children's education, to stop the outsourcing of state jobs to India and much, much more. When He served as House Majority Leader in 1992, newspapers across Kansas hailed it as one of the most productive sessions in Kansas history.
Tom Sawyer is a problem solver. Tom Sawyer works to find solutions. He doesn't believe in playing politics. He works hard to improve the lives of everyday Kansans. That is what we need today more than ever in the Kansas House. We need leaders like Tom Sawyer.