Archive for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

House Republicans change course on measure providing property tax relief

February 29, 2012


— House Republicans on Wednesday reversed field and voted against a measure providing $90 million in property tax relief, alleging they were tricked into voting for it.

And one House Republican, state Rep. Owen Donohoe of Shawnee, said he would bring a motion of censure against state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, whose property tax relief amendment was approved last week.

But Democrats scoffed at the Republican allegations. House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, asked "Why do Republicans have to be `tricked' into supporting property tax cuts?"

Ward said he didn't trick anybody and described Donohoe as a "cranky, old man."

The dispute centered on Thursday's vote when the House approved 122-2 a measure by Ward to cut property taxes by $90 million over two years.

Ward presented his proposal as an amendment during debate of House Bill 2212, which was supported by Republicans and would restrict property tax increases if overall property valuations increased.

During debate, Republican leaders, who control the House, told GOP members to vote for Ward's amendment because it was the underlying bill they really wanted.

But later, Republicans discovered that Ward's amendment was actually a "gut and go," meaning that it eliminated the underlying bill.

On Wednesday, Republicans met in caucus and vented their frustration over the turn of events.

House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, and Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, and others apologized to the caucus for not knowing what Ward's amendment did. But they also accused Ward of not being forthright during debate.

"We obviously put our trust where we should never have put our trust," said Siegfreid.

Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he felt like a running back who missed a blitzing linebacker. "I've been disgusted ever since," he said.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, said Ward lied about his amendment, and Rep. Jana Goodman, R-Leavenworth, said perhaps Republicans should vote `No' whenever a Democrat proposes an amendment to a bill.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the incident should serve as a warning to all legislators to know what the bills are about. "Thursday, it was a Democrat. It could just as easily be a Republican," O'Neal said.

After the caucus meeting, Republicans returned to the House and voted to reconsider the bill, and then voted against the bill. Republicans said that a similar bill that includes the underlying bill and Ward amendment will be reconstructed and considered in the House tax committee.

Meanwhile, Ward denied he tried to deceive Republicans. And, he said, the Republican vote on Wednesday essentially "took away $90 million in property tax cuts."


question4u 6 years ago

"Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said ... 'I've been disgusted ever since'" and "House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the incident should serve as a warning to all legislators to know what the bills are about."

The world is turning upside down. Virgil "Murder 'em from Helicopters" Peck finally found SOMETHING that disgusted him! Mike O'Neal actually sounded like the voice of reason! What's next? Will Brownback come up with an idea that's good for Kansas? Is this the end of everything that we've come to expect?

Maybe not. After all, there's Rep. Jana Goodman's childish and very predictable response: "perhaps Republicans should vote `No' whenever a Democrat proposes an amendment to a bill." To be fair, it's much easier for House Republicans to follow that advice than to than to actually read bills before they vote on them.

BigDog 6 years ago

What a piss poor excuse by Republicans? Don't tell me you couldn't understand the amendment ..... it is two pages long ..... the first lines of the amendment says something to the effect of "striking lines 7-34" and adding ...... ohhhh man that is complicated.

Speaker Mike O'Neal and leadership was not bright enough to review the amendment .... it takes like 5 minutes. Way to go .... Kansas should be proud of House leadership. What else is going into law that they aren't reading.

And before ripping me on this .... I am a Republican and spent 14 sessions as a lobbyist. This was a level 101 mistake by the whole bunch if that is their defense. Stop following blindly what they are telling you.

Jan Rolls 6 years ago

Confirms it most republicans are idiots and couldn't find their rear end with both hands tied behind their backs. Meanwhile stick it to the property owners.

downriverdan 6 years ago

So they raised property taxes by 90 million dollars. It is what Republicans do best tax and spend.

WilburM 6 years ago

Who knew legislative politics could be so entertaining? You'd think someone could actually read a bill, but that Rep. Ward is just so darned clever, he just beguiled them with a $90M cut. Great that they finally got it "right."

tolawdjk 6 years ago

I saw a copy of Ward's Bill.

It said "Isthay utsgay ethay ringinaloay illbay".

People can't be blamed for no knowing a fer'in language.

I propose that all legislation be henceforth presenting in crayola. And not that Socialistic "64" box either with its "Ochre" and "Coneflower". Plain Jane "8" is enough without that alternate lifestyle "pink" either.

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

This is just too much fun.

Republicans are told by their "leaders" to vote, and they do so in lock step without even glancing at the bill on which they are casting a vote.

122-2 was the house vote. At best, only two republicans might have actually read the bill and voted against it.

Further evidence that the Kansas legislature is composed of a bunch of lazy lightweights who would rather scream about social issues than actually legislate.

How embarrassing for the Kansas GOP.

WilburNether 6 years ago

Wrong. Jim Ward is a liar. Period. End of Discussion.

How embarrassing for the Democrats that one of their own has destroyed his credibility forever.

Dave Trabert 6 years ago

Rep. Ward's amendment was nothing more than a shifting of tax burden. Giving local government money to pass on in the form of lower property tax means that money is either not available for other state services or is unnecessarily extracted from taxpayers. Further, there is nothing to prevent local government from raising mill rates back up with higher local budgets...even in the same year.

The only true beneficiary of that amendment would be the politicians who would be able to say they voted for property tax relief in the next election campaign. Of course, anyone who was truly interested in property tax reform would never strip away or vote against the original measure that simply would have forced government to be honest about how much taxes were going up.

tolawdjk 6 years ago

You being paid to say that or are you just delusion?

Of course it was a shifting of burden. The original bill was nothing but a shifting of burden. But your type is never about honesty or clarity. Smoke and mirrors and rabbits out of the hat.

Dave Trabert 6 years ago

The original bill simply required government to be honest about the total tax increase. It didn't shift anything or change the amount of taxes government could charge.

BigDog 6 years ago

Dave, Did you not get word to your puppet (Mike O'Neal) soon enough on how Koch brothers wanted him to tell everyone how to vote?

texburgh 6 years ago

Dave Trabert, Koch's mouthpiece in the Kansas legislature, badmouths an amendment to provide $90 million in local property tax relief to ALL Kansans. This is an important part of his Koch addiction. If the state uses revenue to provide real tax relief for ALL Kansans, there will not be enough to provide income tax relief for the top 20% of earners through the Brownback/ALEC/Koch income tax elimination bill under which 80% of Kansans will end up paying MORE in taxes while the richest 20% will pay less.

If you work in Kansas and earn less than $250,000/year, when Dave Trabert speaks, you get shafted.

Liberty275 6 years ago

ALL KANSANS don't pay property taxes. How are those that don't own property being "relieved"?

chootspa 6 years ago

Dave Trabert, of the Koch-funded Kansas Policy Institute and ALEC wants us all to know that he'd prefer to shift the "same tax burden" to retirees and poor people rather than the wealthy libertarians who pay his bills. Duly noted.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

The original bill was anti free market claptrap intended to protect large property owners from pay fair value on their growth.

Nice to see Trabert hates the free market.

Dave Trabert 6 years ago

You either did not read the original bill or are choosing to not let the facts get in the way of the story you want to tell. The original bill merely required local governments to be honest about the total amount that taxes were going to increase.

The original measure treated all taxpayers the same and placed no restrictions on the taxes that governments could raise. They simply would be required to be honest about the totality of the tax increase.

Echoes 6 years ago

This is almost funny. This nearly unanimously passed bill tricked our state house of representatives. It is plain to see that none of them actually think for themselves. I think we should see some relief in our property taxes, leave income taxes alone for now. The working poor and middle class will see more benefits from property tax relief than an increase in income tax.
If exempting the wealthy from taxes or tipping the field against the middle class and working poor really created jobs, we’d be awash in well-paying jobs. Most of the politicians voting for this income tax “reform” are going to see personal gain from the taxes they are cutting. They have already demonstrated that they don’t have the wherewithal to read a bill and think for on their own. Too bad for us regular people that they are supposed to represent.
As a lifelong registered Republican, I am disappointed in the entire state Republican Party. I sorely regret voting for Brownback, I was hoping for someone a little less, well, less zealous, radical, extreme, (you get the idea). I will not make that mistake again.
When I go to the polls to vote for the people in the State House, there is no real choice to make in my rural district. The Republicans either run unopposed or the Democrat is so weak that they don’t have much of a chance. It is not good to have a one party government which we are stuck with by default.

jafs 6 years ago

I'm curious about how this works - they voted for it, and it passed, and now they vote against it, and overturn their previous decision?

Isn't the original vote binding?

Dave Trabert 6 years ago

Votes are final once a bill has been passed on the other chamber but can be reconsidered until then. In this case, the bill hadn't been passed to the Senate because it was passed late Friday and the legislature was not in session on Monday and Tuesday.

jafs 6 years ago

Thanks for the clarification.

Laura Wilson 6 years ago

I'd really like my legislators to know how to read. Apparently none of the Republicans can. They can't take the time to read a two page amendment before voting?!

Liberty275 6 years ago

A sleazy move by the the left and a dumb and lazy move by the right. Is this what we are paying for?

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

Sleazy implies hiding, altering or otherwise disguising something being presented, kind of like Brownback promising to support education, tax equality, and massive jobs initiatives. Putting a sentence at the very top of the bill in question that clearly stated its intention to add an amendment and do away with the original bill is neither sleazy nor dishonest.

There comes a time when even you have to question the ability and desire of the legislature to actually do things for the good of the entire state, and this legislature exhibits none of that. Their sheep-like following of the order (from the top dog Republican in the House, no less) exhibits nothing in the way of thought, nothing in the way of making Kansas better for the people, and a lot of mindless party drivel that has brought us the socially-engineered sstate we're facing now.

Liberty275 6 years ago

I knew someone would say that. The property owner actually pays the tax, and how it influences the rent can differ from situation to situation. If a developer could get a tax abatement for a mall, do you think they would voluntarily give the merchants a break on their rent, or would they charge market price? I think they would go market price, which is what I think landlords do now. The landlords trying to bilk the renter for taxes are the one's with units sitting empty.

Also, one should consider land and cars and boats as property, and those are far more likely to be owned than rented.

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

Good grief, Lib275, how can you be so obtuse?

Ok, let me put this forward: You rent a home for $1000 from Mr. A. Mr. A pays his mortgage, if any, and his taxes (property, by the way) from the rental receipts. Now, property taxes rise (for instance, because Brownback?Koch told the legislature to spend less on education and let the local districts raise property taxes). Mr. A, quite properly, as the owner of the property, and in a move to retain his profitibility (which is not a dirty word) raises his rent. Now, who, my friend, is effectively paying property tax?

You can split hairs all you want (and the Republican party likes it when you do that because it defers investigation of the root issues) but the renter is still effectively paying property taxes.

Jim Williamson 6 years ago

"House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the incident should serve as a warning to all legislators to know what the bills are about. 'Thursday, it was a Democrat. It could just as easily be a Republican,' O'Neal said."

What a reasonable thing to say. WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE REAL MIKE O'NEAL???

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

So, the GOP want to censure Ward for introducing an amendment that they voted for without actually reading it? Priceless.

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

This censure resolution just highlights how embarrassed many in the GOP are over this comedy.

They should be embarrassed.

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

They should be ashamed. But they won't.

Jan Rolls 6 years ago

Can you read this without any help? We are idiots.

JackMcKee 6 years ago

Just another day in the life of the typical Kansas House Republican.

Tracy Rogers 6 years ago

I know I'm not voting for anyone with an (I) by their name this November. I'd suggest more people do the same.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

Dave Trabert either doesn't understand taxation or hates the free market. Oops, turns out the answer is "both".

When the price of a price of a product goes up, due to market factors, the sales tax collected goes up. When earnings increase, due to market factors, the income tax collected goes up.

When property values increase, due to market factors, the property tax collected goes up. The underlying bill calls that "unfair" because the underlying bill is anti-free market.

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