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Kansas Critics Sound Off Against Property Tax Lid

Stephen Koranda, File Photo
Kansas Public Radio

Local governments and economic development agencies in Kansas are expressing concerns about a bill that would speed up a so-called property tax lid.

Kansas already has a law in place that will force local governments to hold a public vote if they want to raise property taxes faster than the rate of inflation. But that law doesn't take effect until 2018. The bill now under consideration would strengthen the tax lid and make it take effect later this year.

Local governments say the law will hurt their ability to govern themselves, making it harder to raise money for needed services, like fire departments.

Beth Johnson, with the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, says the tax lid makes it difficult to update infrastructure, which can hurt the local economy.

“If communities can’t plan for their community to make it a successful and appealing place for companies, then we can’t succeed in our efforts to grow jobs,” Johnson says.

Supporters of the bill testified Tuesday that the tax lid should take effect sooner than originally planned. They argue that waiting until 2018 will allow local governments to put tax increases in place before the lid takes effect.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.