WyCo, JoCo mayors fight property tax lid

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 00:08:22-05

It’s legislation aimed at saving you money.

But mayors in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties are fighting back, saying it will do more harm than good.

We’re talking about a property tax lid.

During last year’s legislative session, Kansas lawmakers passed the “lid,” requiring local governments to get voter approval to raise property taxes above the rate of inflation.

The law takes effect in 2018 but this session lawmakers are trying to move up the deadline to July 2016. 

“I think it’s something Kansans are hungry for,” said Sen. Jacob LaTurner, a republican from Pittsburgh, who introduced the bill last session. “Property taxes are the most hated taxes in the state of Kansas.”

According to the Kansas Department of Revenue, property taxes have increased 9.25 percent for urban areas from 2008 to 2015. Property taxes increased 14.4 percent for rural communities over that same time period.

“It comes down to one simple idea, do you trust the people of Kansas?” said LaTurner.

Property taxes help finance local services such as first responders, road repairs, infrastructure and schools.

“If people are OK with the police taking longer to get to your house when you have a break-in or the fire department taking longer to get to your house when you have a fire, then they should support the tax-lid because that's probably what's going to happen,” said Mike Taylor, a lobbyist for the United Government of Wyandotte County.

Mayors in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties wrote a letter to the legislature asking lawmakers to repeal the law.

They argue the law is an intrusion in local government and will “discourages local growth an investment.”

“Let people decide locally in their particular community what particular taxes they want to pay, how they want to pay them and what services they want. And if they don't like that then throw the mayor out of office, vote for new council members or commissioners,” said Taylor.