K.S.A. 79-2925b currently requires that local governments approve a resolution when proposed budgets will collect more property tax dollars (than the previous year) due to increasing property values.
In response, the Topeka Capital-Journal published an editorial in favor of local government officials determining local affairs – and against state legislators issuing more mandates:
The affairs of local government are best left to local government officials and the voters who elect them.
Cities and counties now gain tax base through construction of new property or significant additions to existing property and increases in the assessed value of existing property, which is driven by increases in the appraised, market value of the property. Cities also can gain tax base through annexation.
The property valuation system, and thus the property tax system, works the way it does because that’s the way legislators designed it when in the last century they ordered a statewide reappraisal of all property. That law required each county to maintain the system by reappraising a certain percent of the property within its boundaries every year.
The system is supposed to keep appraisals close to market value. It does. And it also increases the property owner’s tax bill as the property becomes more valuable. But we don’t know if that property owner is any more upset than someone who builds a new house and then gets his or her first property tax bill.
When counties and cities plan to increase their property tax mill levies to support the following year’s budget, they are required to pass resolutions or ordinances notifying the public of their intentions.
The taxpayers, as voters, already have the ability to express their displeasure with higher taxes when they elected their local government leaders.
What isn’t needed is a state mandate that meddles in the affairs of local government.
Our legislators rail against edicts from on high when the federal government, or the Kansas Supreme Court, tries to tell them what to do or how to spend the taxpayers’ money.
Given that position, they should respect the ability of local officials and voters to handle their own affairs.
View the full editorial here.