City and County Payroll Provides Property Tax Insight

Dave TrabertTax & SpendingLeave a Comment

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 & SpendingLeave a Comment

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 FrankoResearch2 Comments

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

Media’s hypocritical tizzy over fake news

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Fake news stories on the presidential election outperformed real news on Facebook according to a story recently published by online news site BuzzFeed and mainstream media, including CBS News, jumped all over it.  Even President Obama chimed in, saying that fake news “threatens democracy;” apparently saying “you can keep your doctor if you want” doesn’t count as ‘fake news.’  The Washington … Read More

KC Biz Journal misleads on Johnson County property tax

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

We routinely see media sharing false information and if it appears to be an innocent mistake, we first give them an opportunity to correct their own mistake.  Last month, the Kansas City Business Journal inaccurately stated that Johnson County accounted for 34 percent of the property tax paid in Kansas, with Sedgwick County in second place and paying 17 percent … Read More

Olathe’s real spending increase is higher than explained

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

The City of Olathe is proposing another big spending increase on pay and benefits, but you’d never know it from media reports.  According to the Kansas City Star, the city is only increasing spending by 4 percent, from $325.8 million to $339.3 million, but that isn’t exactly the case.  Those figures are inflated by fund transfers, which is just money … Read More

Olathe and Johnson County misrepresent pending property tax increases

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Misleading responses from the City of Olathe and Johnson County to a citizen’s inquiry about pending property tax increases are perfect examples of why the Legislature is allowing citizens to vote on property tax increases next year.  KPI’s report on pending property tax increases prompted a resident to ask Johnson County Commissioners, “I am interested to know how you plan … Read More

Property tax hikes in the works

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

City Council members and County Commissioners across Kansas are deciding how much more to tax and spend next year, and the preliminary numbers are not encouraging across most of the larger population areas.  With inflation at 1.4 percent (June 2016 compared to December 2015), the smallest increase we found was 1.6 percent in Kansas City, which is part of the … Read More

Students and Taxpayers Bear the Costs of Generous Pay Packages at Johnson County Community College

Patrick ParkesEducation, Tax & Spending

This post has been updated to correct a typo and clarify a calculation made within the body of the post. Johnson County Community College (JCCC) payroll records—now available on KansasOpenGov.Org for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years —may raise eyebrows among students and taxpayers alike, as some JCCC staff members earn salaries that appear to be well above market averages. … Read More