Topeka State legislators on Tuesday considered a bill that would change the range of projects that could be funded with a sales tax increase in Douglas County.
County Administrator Craig Weinaug told the House Taxation Committee that there were no plans by the Douglas County Commission to seek a tax increase at this time.
But if the issue ever does gain political traction and the commission seeks voter approval of a sales tax increase, House Bill 2366 would set the parameters on what kind of projects would be funded.
“The politics of Douglas County is probably as interesting as politics in any part of the state,” Weinaug said.
He said many residents indicate they support taxes to help lure business and industry, while many others say they could support a tax increase to develop historical sites and attract tourism.
“This bill provides a mechanism to go in both areas,” he said.
The bill would allow the commission to ask voters to approve a quarter-cent per dollar sales tax for conservation, access and management of open space, preservation of cultural heritage and other economic development projects and activities.
The commission has had legislative authority to seek the tax increase for the past 10 years but hasn’t sought approval from the voters. Under current law, the tax increase could be used for preservation, access and management of open space and business and industrial park development.
Weinaug said the bill represents a desire by the current commissioners to broaden the range of options if the tax is ever considered.
The committee took no action on the proposal.