Abilene Position Paper on Proposed Kansas Property Tax Lid

The City of Abilene believes that the property tax lid created in the 2015 Kansas Legislative Session should be repealed in its entirety. The rationale behind this position is that local government decisions, including revenue and taxation decisions, should be made by locally elected officials who are closest to the citizens that are affected by these decisions. Local government officials are positioned in a manner that allows them to know the desires of the citizens they serve, and they are able to convert these desires into policy decisions that affect the progress of the entire community.

If the lid stays, the exemptions provided in state law should be preserved in order to provide local government officials with the ability to flexibly respond to the needs of the community.

The present statute and proposed Senate Bill 316 makes it very difficult for the City of Abilene and other municipalities throughout Kansas to effectively govern the affairs of their communities. While providing voters with an opportunity to vote on proposed property tax increases seems worthwhile, it erodes the ability of a governing body to make decisions members were elected to vote on. In addition, the CPI does not take into account the various items that municipalities purchase that differ from consumers (such as asphalt). Increases in the cost of these items at a rate greater than the CPI would require the governing body to seek the approval of voters or face cutting public services in order to absorb the increased costs.

(Read more: Abilene Management Perspectives)

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