Kansas Representative Bill Rhiley (R-Wellington) says there are too many loopholes in the property tax lid and cities and counties are finding ways to work around it to avoid the public vote requirement. But instead of proposing to close the loopholes and make the lid more effective, he’s filed a bill ahead of the 2020 Kansas Legislative session to do away with the property tax lid.
Dave Trabert, CEO of Kansas Policy Institute (which owns the Sentinel), says Rhiley’s bill will lead to even larger property tax increases.
“Cities and counties have been hounding the legislature to remove the property tax lid because it restricts their spending plans and keeps taxes lower than they want, so we know the law is effective. Rep. Rhiley is right in saying the lid has some shortcomings but instead of proposing fixes, he’s giving city and county officials exactly what they want – the unrestricted ability to raise property taxes.”
In a statement to Sentinel asking why Rhiley would sponsor such a bill, Rhiley responded with a long rambling letter describing his reasoning for doing away with the property tax lid.
Chief among Rhiley’s concerns is the wide number of exemptions apply to the property tax lid.
“We have so many exemptions to the “tax lid”, that the private citizen cannot imagine that the Cap [sic] is unworkable as is. Here is some of the exception wording in the statute,” said Rhiley.
Another argument of Rhiley’s is that the property tax lid is ineffective given local governments’ ability to work around the lid, thereby according to Rhiley rending it useless.
“Immediately after the passing of this tax cap, the counties and cities were coached about the exceptions to the cap and then they changed their budget categories to work around the cap,”
We asked Rhiley why he thinks removing the property tax lid will resolve the problems he cites and how doing so benefits taxpayers, but he didn’t have an answer.