Kansas to consider tightening limits on local property taxes

Kansas lawmakers will consider a proposal to place new limits on local property taxes during the annual legislative session that opened Monday.

The Republican-controlled Legislature last year enacted a law designed to lessen annual increases in the property tax levies that cities and counties rely heavily upon to finance local services. The restrictions are set to take effect in 2018.

But GOP Sen. Jake LaTurner, of Pittsburg, who pushed for those limits, has a new bill to tighten them and have them take effect in July. The Kansas Association of Realtors said imposing the restrictions earlier is its top legislative priority, and the idea is supported by Americans for Prosperity, the anti-tax group backed by billionaire political donors Charles and David Koch.

“We feel like property taxes have been a problem for a long time,” said Luke Bell, a vice president and lobbyist for the real estate group.

Meanwhile, groups representing city and county officials plan to ask legislators to repeal the restrictions before they take effect.

“They have their hands full trying to balance their own budget,” said Cindy Green, deputy director and lobbyist for the League of Kansas Municipalities, referring to the state’s ongoing financial problems. “Leave us be.”

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories: News)

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