July 18, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Shocker: Lawrence Paper Misleads on Property Tax Increase

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Carrying the water for government, the Lawrence Journal-World claims that the Lawrence school district is reducing property taxes. That claim is false.

In reality, property tax collections are going up by $1.3 million this year. So how do the wizards at the Journal-World reconcile ‘up’ being ‘down’? They reference the mill rate instead of actual property tax collections.

Kansas Policy Institute president Dave Trabert observes, “People pay their taxes with dollars, not mill rates. If the tax collections are greater than the year before, taxes are going up.”

The school district is reducing its mill rate, however slightly. The “mill rate” is the tax rate applied to assessed valuations. Assessed valuations, however, increased enough that the lower mill rate still produces $1.3 million more tax revenue for the district.

Page two of the district’s budget report shows a tax revenue of $56.2 million for the 2017 school year, $62.1 million last year, and $63.4 million for the current year.

The district could choose to cut property taxes if it reduced its spending by at least $1.3 million this year. And since the district is budgeting a $24 million/16 percent spending jump, there’s plenty of room to give taxpayers a little break.

In Lawrence, as just about everywhere, the odds favor the taxpayers not getting any kind of break at all.


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