July 21, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Revenue-Neutral property tax hearings start August 20

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Be on the lookout for your notice of revenue-neutral property tax hearings that start on August 20 and run through September 20.

Last year, over 50% of local taxing authorities (cities, counties, community colleges, school districts, fire districts, etc.) decided not to raise property tax this year.  Preliminary information collected by Kansas Policy Institute this year shows the same trend developing.  Data collected from 68 county clerks at this writing is posted at KansasOpenGov.org, and more will be added as clerks respond to the month-old Open Records requests.  The database includes proposed tax increases and also indicates which entities are not proposing a tax increase.

The Truth in Taxation law implemented last year automatically reduces mill rates so that new valuation totals produce the same amount of property tax.  Any entity that wants to take in more property tax –must notify the county clerk of their intent to exceed the revenue-neutral rate and provide information about the public hearing to be held between August 20 and September 20.  Elected officials must then vote on the entire tax increase they impose so taxpayers can hold them accountable.

The table below comes from a notice sent to a Wyandotte County homeowner whose property is appraised at about $145,000.  The homeowner’s property tax would increase 11% overall between the county, Kansas City, the library, KCK Community College, and USD 500.  Wyandotte County alone is proposing a 13.6% increase that will cost the homeowner $78.

Attend the public meetings to stop property tax increases

Revenue-neutral rate hearings provide a great opportunity for taxpayers to demand efficiency and lower taxes.  Some local officials are finally giving Kansans a break, but there are some who are planning very large increases.  Over 100 taxing authorities are proposing increases of 25% or more.  Most of those are small fire and cemetery districts, but there are some notable exceptions.

The Blue Valley Recreation Commission in Johnson County wants a 41% property tax increase.  Several school districts are proposing exceptionally high increases, like USD 489 Hays in Ellis County (38%), USD 218 Elkhart in Morton County (44%), USD 332 Cunningham in Kingman County (52%), and USD 507 Satanta in Morton County (26%).

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