January 11, 2020 CONTACT: Caryn.Tyson@Kansas.Senate.gov
(TOPEKA, KS) – Legislators have been working to find solutions in addressing ever-increasing high property taxes. They spent much of 2019 on the issue and are prepared to introduce legislation that will improve transparency and truth in taxation.
Senator Caryn Tyson, Linn County, Chair of the Senate Tax Committee, released the following statement today:
“One of the main complaints legislators hear from their constituents is that property taxes are too high. After studying the issue, it is apparent there is a need for more transparency and truth in taxation. Other legislators are working with me to change that – by increasing transparency and improving the process to appeal real estate property taxes.”
Senator Tyson is leading this effort along with Senator Bud Estes, Ford County, Senator Larry Alley, Cowley County, Representative Ron Highland, Wabaunsee County, and Representative Ken Corbet, Shawnee County. They are working with others throughout the state to understand the process and find solutions in addressing high property taxes. The initial step was hearing from county officials, appraisers, taxpayers, and tax experts. As this process continues there will be other legislators involved who will be instrumental in completing this process.
Tyson said, “Most property taxpayers aren’t as concerned about the valuation or mil levy as they are about the increasing dollar amount of their property taxes. By changing the process, this will require transparency in property tax increases and keep the public informed of proposed property tax changes before an increase occurs.”
“A change we are proposing will require the mil levy to be recalculated so the same dollar amount would be collected as of the previous year. To increase the property tax dollar amount, the governing body would be required to announce a meeting where the public officials would vote on the increase.” She went on to say, “this will require public officials to vote on a property tax increase rather than increasing valuations that automatically raise property taxes.”
The changes are modeled after other states, such as Utah and Tennessee. By using proven methodologies Kansas is not reinventing the wheel.
There are other proposed changes to help, such as allowing an option for an arbitrator to oversee the first step in the appeals process; putting an estimated dollar amount for your property tax on the valuation sheet; and excluding maintenance from increasing the valuation of your property. These are just some of the changes that will improve the process and truth in Kansas taxation laws.