Kansas Puts Lid on Property Tax - KOAM TV 7

Kansas Puts Lid on Property Tax

The city of Pittsburg had not raised property taxes for 8 years prior to the last budget.

It looked to add roughly $240,000 through property tax to the upcoming budget, which must be approved by the end of July.

But a Kansas house bill recently signed into law may not let that happen.  

HB 2109 puts a lid on cities ability to raise property tax.

The measure was authored by local Senator Jake LaTurner.

"It says that if cities or counties want to increase revenue at the rate of inflation, they can. But if they want to go beyond the rate of inflation they have to have a vote of the people," LaTurner said

The rate of inflation dictated by the Consumer Price Index.  

But municipalities and administrators across the state aren't happy about the move. Including Pittsburg's city manager Daron Hall; who says the bill will prevent a planned increase in the city's budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  

"Tying the cost of providing services in Pittsburg, Kansas to anything that's a national index doesn't make a lot of sense," Hall said. 

Pittsburg resident Gene Vogler isn't a fan of property taxes. But he doesn't like the idea of the state dictating guidelines.  

"I think that the city has to have a way of funding their activities if they're going to continue to provide services," Vogler said. 

In Pittsburg's proposed budget, the property tax increase would see the tax on a $100,000 home increase about $22 a year.

"I don't mind spending an extra $20 if I have the confidence that it's going to be used in the proper way," Vogler said. 

"Nobody wants to be supportive of tax increases," Hall said. "But it is the job of the local government to provide services and there's only a few tools we have."

"Over the last 15 years, property taxes have gone up at the city and county level over 116%. That's abuse in my mind," LaTurner said. "I've heard a lot about local control. I believe the ultimate local control is to allow the citizens to vote."

The bill, due to a re-drafting error, is set to take effect on July 1st of this year instead of the intended effective date of January 1st, 2018.

Legislators will meet Friday to determine whether to push back the effective date of the bill.
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