Property Tax Hikes Continue

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Double-digit 2016 property tax hikes were not uncommon in Kansas.  Department of Revenue data shows 23 counties and 4 of the twenty-five largest cities increased their property tax by 10 percent or more last year.  Another 30 counties and 8 large cities increased their property tax between 5 percent and 10 percent.  Inflation meanwhile was less than 1 percent for Midwest Urban Cities.  All references to county property tax is just for taxes charged by county government and excludes cities, schools and other taxing jurisdictions within each county.

Most large cities and counties increased property taxes far in excess of inflation and population over the years.

The state’s largest county – Johnson – increased property taxes by 210 percent since 1997 while inflation and population grew at a combined rate of 85 percent.  The next largest county – Sedgwick – was much more conservative; property taxes increased 89 percent while inflation and population increased by 62 percent.

The ‘award’ for largest county property tax increase since 1997 goes to Osage County; the county increased its property tax by 382 percent with inflation at 44 percent and an 8 percent population decline.

Graphs of this nature for every Kansas county are in the County section of KansasOpenGov.org; additional reports of annual property tax charges and mill rates are also available in the Report drop-down section.

Five cities more than tripled property taxes since 1997 – Lawrence, Manhattan and three Johnson County cities of Olathe, Overland Park and Shawnee.  Readers can find graphs, annual property tax charges and mill rates for the 25 largest cities in the City section of KansasOpenGov.org.

Cities and counties are ironically asking the Legislature to strip citizens of their right to vote on whether, with some exceptions, property taxes should increase by more than the rate of inflation.  The right to vote is scheduled to take effect later this year.

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