School Funding Ruling May Cause Devastating Tax Hikes

Dave TrabertEducation

The Kansas Supreme Court’s recent Gannon school funding ruling, if endorsed by legislators, would cause devastating tax hikes on top of record-setting tax increases just passed.  The Court cited vast differences between the new money appropriated by the Legislature ($293 million more in FY 2019) and the amount demanded by school districts (at least $1.7 billion) and the State Board … Read More

Pretty Prairie Residents Reject Property Tax Hike

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

A Hutchinson News report stating “Voters in Pretty Prairie soundly defeated a ballot question that would have authorized higher property taxes this fall to support the 2018 city budget” marks a significant victory for voter empowerment in Kansas.  Legislation passed in 2016 allows citizens to begin voting this year on whether, with many exceptions, property taxes should be increased above … Read More

Good News in Kansas City Star

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Yes, you read that headline correctly.  The Kansas City Star published an editorial last week calling for the ‘pause’ button to be pressed on the battle over school funding.  They said, “…it may be time for the state and the judges to pause for a year or two to see if the $488 million infusion, coupled with a new formula … Read More

Local Government to Kansans – Suck it up and Pay up

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

A new bill introduced to the House Taxation Committee proposed to further weaken citizens’ right to vote on property tax increases.  HB 2424 would add yet another exemption for “increases in employer contributions for social security, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, health-care costs, employee benefit plans and employee retirement and pension programs.” The theory might be that local government can’t help … Read More

City Property Tax Hikes

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Property tax history for twelve more cities added to KansasOpenGov.org underscores why so many citizens are upset with property tax hikes.  On average, those dozen cites increased property tax 2.6 times faster than the combined rates of inflation and population between 1997 and 2016. The City of Andover had the highest tax increase at 510 percent but the City of … Read More

Local Gov’t. Threatens Citizens over Property Tax Lid

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

A property tax lid passed last year will allow Kansans to begin voting later this year on whether, with many exceptions, city and county property taxes should increase by more than the rate of inflation.  Citizens overwhelming support the right to vote but local government doesn’t want citizens meddling in their business.  Cities and counties are asking legislators to strip … Read More

City and County Payroll Provides Property Tax Insight

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Newly published city and county payroll listings help explain why property taxes doubled, tripled or even quadrupled over the last nineteen years.  Total pay for the nine counties and ten cities published on KansasOpenGov.org exceeds $1 billion, with 756 employees collecting more than $100,000 last year. City and county payroll excludes benefits but does count bonuses and other forms of pay, … Read More

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 … Read More

2017 Greenbook

James FrankoResearch

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis saw states as “laboratories of democracy” conducting “experiments” in public policy. Today, more than eight decades after Brandeis coined the phrase, state experimentation with tax policy makes it abundantly clear that tax policy has a direct impact on economic growth. As shown on page 27 for the 2017 Greenbook, each of the eleven states … Read More

Most Kansas legislators won’t declare their principles

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Lots of declarations are made on the campaign trail and town hall meetings, but when asked to declare their principles on key state budget and education issues, most Kansas legislators wouldn’t respond. Kansas Policy Institute asked all 165 Kansas legislators to respond to a 6-question multiple choice online survey between January 13 and January 30 but only 34 responded; some … Read More