Archive for Tuesday, March 15, 2011

State legislators consider Douglas County sales tax increase proposal

March 15, 2011

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— 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.

Comments

Randall Uhrich 4 years, 5 months ago

How about rescinding some of these sales taxes that have outlived their benefit periods and projects? Why does no one ever propose that? Well???

jmadison 4 years, 5 months ago

County to taxpayers: "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme"

gudpoynt 4 years, 5 months ago

Did you know that in 2006, KS HB 2583 was passed, which phases out property taxes on commercial equipment and machinery?

(http://www.kansas.gov/government/legislative/bills/2006/2583.pdf)

Since this money would normally go to the KS counties, the state set up the "business machinery and equipment tax reduction assistance fund" which will take money out of the state treasury, and give it to country treasuries as compensation for lost property tax revenue, in decreasing amounts of 90%, 70%, 50%, 30%, and 10% from 2008 through 2012.

Tom Sawyer, former Democratic Representative from Wichita, claims that the estimated cost of this fund to the state, from 2008-2013, is around $327M (http://www.tomsawyerforkansas.com/taxcutssince2005.htm).

And so, in phasing out property tax for commercial equipment and machinery, our state is coughing up an additional $327M over 5 years, and at the same time depriving the county of property tax revenues they would otherwise have.

Meanwhile, in addition to the state cutting education funding by ~$50M (note that $327M / 5 years = ~$65M/yr), they are now proposing a bill to allow Douglas County to propose sales tax increases on a broader range of projects.

Are Douglas County residents willing to face increased sales taxes (that apply to everyone) to cover the absence of property taxes on commercial equipment and machinery that, up until 2007, were being collected from those businesses that actually own the equipment and machinery?

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