Republican lawmakers hope proposed property tax bill will help transparency

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Republican legislators are hoping local city officials will be more transparent with a bill that was discussed at a Senate committee on Friday.

Senate Bill 294 would require city officials to send out a notice and hold a public hearing prior to increasing its certified rate for property taxes.

“I think it’s critical,” said Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker), one of the 15 Republicans who sponsor the bill. “We need the communication between our constituencies and the governing bodies, and that’s true… at the state level, local level.”

75% of Kansas voters want their local officials to be more honest when it comes to property taxes, according to a poll conducted by the Kansas Policy Institute.

The League of Kansas Municipalities currently has 27 cities whose local government opposes the bill. They are worried it would create a level of bureaucracy that is difficult for them to maintain, said Trey Cocking, Deputy Director of League of Kansas Municipalities.

“We’re only opposed to the fact that the state is mandating this on local governments and the state is not doing the same thing with the 15% overall portion of the property tax that is controlled by the state of Kansas and the legislators,” Cocking said.

However, others believe this bill would help citizens have a say in property tax meetings, which local government does not want, said Dave Trabert, CEO of Kansas Policy Institute.

“Cities and counties, we just heard them testify this morning and it’s throughout their testimony, they don’t trust taxpayers to do what they want them to do,” Trabert said.

The bill will be discussed by the Senate committee next week. Tyson says she already has two amendments she is planning to bring forward and estimates other members will as well.

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