Archive for Friday, October 26, 2012

Brownback says he wants more transparency in property taxes; Corliss said requirements already there

October 26, 2012


Gov. Sam Brownback and Republican legislative leaders on Friday unveiled a plan that they said would protect property taxpayers.

The Property Tax Transparency Act would require property tax mill levies to be automatically lowered as property valuations go up. Local units of government that have taxing authority and want to increase their property taxes would be required to vote to increase the mill levy.

"Kansas families and businesses are taxed every time they turn around: income tax, sales tax, use tax, gas tax, and property tax — the list goes on and on," Brownback said.

Following his enactment of massive income tax cuts, Brownback said the next step is to make property taxes more transparent.

But Democrats said Brownback rejected their calls for property tax reductions in the last legislative session so that he could give tax cuts to wealthy businesses.

The Brownback tax cuts will exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from income taxes. The package also decreases individual income tax rates for 2013, with the top rate dropping to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent, and increases the standard deduction.

Democrats, who have claimed property taxes should be cut instead of income taxes, said Brownback is posturing on property taxes less than two weeks before Republicans and Democrats face off in legislative races across the state.

"The governor has spent the last year ignoring proposals to reduce property taxes," said state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita. "Kansas common sense says you have to question his commitment to his new conversion on property taxes," he said.

And Lawrence City Manager David Corliss said he was unsure what the new proposal would require that cities aren't already doing as far as transparency about property taxes.

Current state law requires local governing bodies to adopt ordinances if property tax revenues for the budget exceed the previous year.

"Somebody might want to read the budget law and see what we actually have to do now before they try to tack on another requirement," Corliss said.

"What we really do feel strongly about is local decisions should be made locally," Corliss added. "I don't want someone on the third floor of the Statehouse telling us how to spend or raise our money. If the Legislature wants to add more process, we can add more process," he said.

Corliss added that city finances are transparent. Budget, spending and employee salaries are on the city's website, he said.

But state Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who appeared with Brownback at a news conference in Wichita on the property tax transparency proposal, said the measure "will give Kansas property owners confidence that their property taxes aren't going to increase the way they have in the past while still giving local units of government flexibility to increase taxes if they need more tax money."

Wagle said property tax revenues collected in the state went from $1.97 billion in 1997 to $3.8 billion in 2010.

State Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, who has pushed similar proposals in the past, said “Just because the value of your home or business has gone up, doesn’t mean that local governments’ spending should go up."

But Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan, a Democrat, said Brownback's proposal was meant to deflect attention from projections that the Brownback tax cuts will produce significant revenue shortfalls and push more costs onto local governments.

"In Douglas County we've picked up costs to keep the (Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services) SRS office open, to handle the state's new vehicle registrations software, to implement (Secretary of State) Kris Kobach's phony voter fraud laws, and to keep our courts open and operating," Gaughan said. "The governor's income tax cuts will force schools districts and local governments to raise property taxes to pay for the basics like public schools and water quality. So this isn't a surprise. Blaming others is what they do best," he said.


consumer1 5 years, 5 months ago

So many good reason's listed above to hate democrats.

Kevin Millikan 5 years, 5 months ago

What a nice comment, I'm sure your mother is proud..

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I hate it when they point out how the governor contradicts his own actions. They're such Facty McFactersons. Stupid truth and facts shouldn't get in the way of partisan politics.

Mick Lowe 5 years, 5 months ago

It is just so annoying when the Democrats point out the truth like that.

Mike1949 5 years, 4 months ago

"Could send us in the stone age?" LOL, where have you been? Ever since Brownback got into office, Kansas has nose dived way past the line of return. It will take a Governor 20-40 years to save Kansas from oblivion!

Mark Sanders 5 years, 4 months ago

This is just so phony. He lowered taxes on his wealthy friends. We are going to end paying for it.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback lives in a world where the rules of math bend to the whims of magical thinking.

LegendaryBeast 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback is crook! Our educational system is suffering because of his greed and it's only going to get worse if he stays in office.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 4 months ago

Transparency in property taxes? I'll settle for the city assessing my house for what it is actually worth

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

You can appeal your assessment. We did. And you don't have to hire a lawyer. You many have to pay for a home appraisal.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

They didn't do that to us. Especially after the recession and our home value was dropped.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

See - and that would be a useful transparency. This song and dance about voting every time property values go up is silly.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 4 months ago

The gov sez do yo bizness thang here in Kansas. We not be chargin' you taxes on it. You need extra services, we'll make the locals pay for 'em.

kansasredlegs 5 years, 4 months ago

If one didn't already know that Corliss wasn't an elected official, the way he speaks out the side of his mouth certainly would make one believe he was.

Come on Dave, you darn well know that each and every year for decades when the County Clerk set the county real property valuation at even higher and higher values, the Commission, your former boss, and you beat your collective chests about how you all held the line on taxes and didn't raise the mil levy. While that may be technically accurate, you know that you didn't have to increase the levy since you kept on appropriating homeowners' money when the value of houses increased thousands of dollars each year. Also, funny how valuations went up by tens of thousands of dollars during the great economic boom in a few short years, but has only decreased a few hundres bucks since the Great Recession started over 4 years ago.

While I don't agree with Brownback's policies very often, I do like the fact that as a resident in a community in which my elected officials and City Manager seem to care less about financial restraint, I welcome the requirement that my local Good 'Ole Boys don't get an automatic tax increase year after year just because the County Clerk says my house is worth more.

kshiker 5 years, 4 months ago

You nailed it on this explanation. +1

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 4 months ago

You hate the free market. Let's put an artificial cap on your salary, too. And on the price of goods.

Oh wait, that's how it worked in soviet Russia. Communist.

kansasredlegs 5 years, 4 months ago

Gaughan, please call it what it is... taxpayer money. Revenue is something businesses make, pay out to their employees, and invest to grow their business. Taxes are what are confiscated from the aforementioned entities and then wasted by politicians like yourself.

You voted to give Mr. Compton the tax abatement for the Masonic Temple matter because you, along with others, determined that it would return 1.5 dollars for every dollar wasted by you and yours. My recollection is that a church is going in there. Care to crunch those numbers again? I bet you didn't even put a provision that outlay of taxpayer money to require that to get the tax money, a "revenue" generating business that would 'increase' the tax base would have to be located there. Did ya?

SRS as an example, uh? Taxpayers remember that fiasco as well Mr. Gaughan. I recall how you and yours didn't even bother to negotiate with our local 1-percenter Mr. Schwada to lower the annual lease payment when he was in a position to renegotiate. Frankly, your leadership is suspect and business knowledge horrendous. I recently read how Mr. Schwada is as tough a negotiator as there is. He must laugh at you fools as he didn't have to do anything but sit back and wait for you idiots to throw money at him. While you aren't up for election this year, I certainly hope the electorate remembers your sidekick in tax increases, wasteful spending and shows Ms. Thelman the door.

Instead of crowing about Brownback making it harder for you locals to confiscate MY money, why not stand up on your soapbox about the accomplishments you've made with your votes which raised our taxes. Would be a pretty short speech, uh?

costello 5 years, 4 months ago

revenue (plural revenues) 1.The income returned by an investment 2.The total income received from a given source 3.All income generated for some political entity's treasury by taxation and other means 4.(accounting) The total sales; turnover. 5.(accounting) The net revenue, net sales.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

Keep an eye on Brownback who is a borrow and spend,borrow and spend,borrow and spend supply side economics pusher from Washington D.C. Yes those supply side wreckanomics politicians are reckless spenders big time of YOUR tax dollars which in effect increases taxes annually.

Have no fear Frank Male will spend your tax dollars like a drunken sailor. He has a lot of wealthy friends in town known as developers/builders who love those large tax dollar handouts. Frank Male is definitely a long term Chamber of Commerce inner circle member that which promotes reckless use of local tax dollars.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

--- Sam Brownback likes to give your tax dollars to wealthy corporations absolutely. In large chunks. He has given Marrs Candy $9 million tax $$$$$. He is no fiscal conservative not by a long shot. He is cutting taxes and spending big.

--- Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses by Jim Hightower / Thursday, April 26, 2012

--- Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff!

--- Where is the $47 million tax dollars that belong to Kansas taxpayers? AMC subsequently has been purchased by a Chinese leveraged buyout group. Hmmmmmmm.

--- My congratulations to workers in 16 states – from Maine to Georgia, New Jersey to Colorado! Many of you will be thrilled to know that the income taxes deducted from your paychecks each month are going to a very worthy cause: your corporate boss.

--- Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

--- But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

--- These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 4 months ago

One of my most defining "Lawrence moments" was having just bought a house for $92,000 after it sat on the market for 14 months (original list of $99,900) only to receive my property tax statement notifying me that the property was worrh $133,000. When I appealed, I did my homework and found that in the last 5 years NO HOUSE on that block sold higher than $119k. So what happened with my appeal? They lowered the value to $127,500. When I asked how they came to that number, I wasn't given a response.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

I've heard other stories like that - they're odd.

In my experience, our property valuation has never been more than we paid for the house, and it automatically adjusted to that when we bought it.

Did you have an independent appraisal that you could show them? That might help.

buffalo63 5 years, 4 months ago

We had 2 appraisals and they would not except either one. Went all the way to Topeka for the appeal, but by then the next year's appraisal came out. We could not appeal that one because the last year's appeal wasn't finished. Was a losing process all around. That was in early 1990's. We learned then the scam of raising evaluations instead of mill levies.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I had no problem getting my value lowered upon showing them a home sale receipt.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 4 months ago

Property tax collections increased 99% between 1997 and 2011, while the average mill rate only increased by 21%. Elected officials like to refer to the mill rate and claim that they barely or didn't raise taxes, when the truth is that tax collections have doubled since 1997.

And that's overall. Tax collections on residential property increased 149%...Commercial & Industrial property taxes increased 82%....Agricultural property taxes increased 31%...all while inflation was only up 37%.

Details on how taxes in each county (all taxing jurisdictions combined) have changed are available at Tax collections in Douglas County are up 133% but the mill rate is only 18% higher, substantiating comments above that elected officials are being honest when they claim that they've held the line on taxes. All data comes from the Kansas Dept. of Revenue.

The proposal is about nothing more than transparency. The only change is that if government wants to increase tax collections by say, 5%...they have to be honest with taxpayers and not pretend the increase is only maybe 1% because of how the mill rate changed. And that's why local governments will lobby hard to prevent taxpayers from knowing the truth.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 4 months ago

Please explain. This proposal does nothing but require local government to be honest about the tax increases they are imposing. It has no impact on anything else.

And by the way, the original measure was introduced two years ago. It passed the House this year but died in the Senate because local governments refused to be honest with taxpayers.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Sure it does.

By throwing a large spotlight on any increases at the local level, it diverts attention away from the reason those are necessary, ie. Brownback's tax cuts.

Any thinking person can easily tell right now that when their home valuation rises, their taxes rise even without an increase in the mill levy. Requiring local entities to cut the levy when valuations rise unless they vote for a tax increase isn't necessary for "transparency".

But, it does serve that very useful purpose for Brownback regarding the effects of his tax cuts. He can quite obviously say "I cut taxes", and your local entity "raised them", which is technically correct.

Of course, it misses the point somewhat dramatically, that the reason local entities had to raise taxes was to cover revenue shortfall created by his tax cuts, in order to maintain basic services at the local level.

The worst part of this is that many people in KS will fall for it, and blame the local entities rather than the governor for these issues.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I'd love it if you were honest about your donor list, Dave.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 4 months ago

Increased tax collections over that period are a good thing. They represent economic growth in the value of real estate.

Why do you hate economic growth?

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

I get an explantation of my property taxes every year from our local government, if your accountant can't explain it to you, then I'm sorry. It's not that hard to figure out how property tax works. Take a remedial math class.

Who is going to pay for these elections to raise taxes? The soon to be bankrupt state government? Elections aren't free. We have a representative government. Take a remedial history class. If you don't want to pay any taxes, buy a tropical island and start your own country. Then you won't have to educate yourself. What we pay in local taxes is none of the guv's business.

kshiker 5 years, 4 months ago

+1 Why are local governments opposed to having an extra vote to raise the mill levy and allowing their citizens to testify at a public hearing? Something tells me that they want to continue to be able to perpetuate the myth that they are not actually increasing taxes by almost 10% each year.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Would you also claim that people should vote every year to "raise" income taxes when the brackets haven't changed but the median income has gone up?

My property taxes have gone up. But so has my property value. The city's efforts in building infrastructure have contributed toward my property values. Not as many people would want to live here without a hospital, bus system, police force, fire fighters, sanitation, schools, roads, etc, etc, etc.

weeslicket 5 years, 4 months ago

i would like to say "trabertsy", as in: it's an absolute trabertsy what these people are doing to the people of kansas.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 4 months ago

This is the most anti-free market proposal ever considered in this state.

Why do Il Marrone and his partisans hate the free market?

Joe Hyde 5 years, 4 months ago

Where was the desire for "transparency" when, during the last legislative session, Gov. Brownback and Republican conservatives ramrodded through a historic tax cut that makes the owners of 191,000 small businesses STOP paying individual Kansas income tax but makes the employees of those same businesses KEEP paying?

With that tax law change Republican conservatives literally created a social caste system that gives greater wealth and social privilege to business owners while consigning wage earners to lives of paying annual earnings tax in order to keep our state's infrastructure, education, public safety and social programs running (on a near empty tank). Business owners exploit the infrastructure and services but don't contribute anything from their own personal income to help pay for it.

Where was the call for transparency, the insistence that Kansas citizens must approve that tax cut by voting for it in a statewide general referendum? That's right: there was no such call, and it's because Republican conservatives seized the opportunity of their first-ever legislative majority to arrogate the will of the people. They have imposed on us, by means of their personal income tax law change, a social caste system that ranks wage workers at the bottom, exploits wage workers financially. And I believe conservatives fully intend to keep exploiting wage workers forever.

This exact type of abuse by a moneyed class is why American colonists revolted, declared national independence then went to war with England.

voevoda 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback's justification for cutting the state income tax rate, especially for businesses, is that it will lead to growth in the economy and thus automatically generate more income for the state government, rather than less. However, with the property tax proposal, Brownback prohibits local governments from benefiting automatically from the improvements in the economy that he is promising. In effect, his property tax proposal undercuts the justification for his income tax plan now being implemented.

So what is the real rationale that underlies both policies? Transparently, the goal is to starve government. It is a goal that the radical right-wing Republicans and the anarcho-capitalists (so-called "libertarians") applaud. But the rest of us depend upon the existence of government services for our communities to be livable--we want roads, schools, police, fire, water, hospital, relief for the poor, the arts, library, etc.--and unlike the others, we're not too selfish to pay our fair share of taxes to benefit the community.

verity 5 years, 4 months ago

We ALL depend on the services of government. Yes, even those paragons of virtue, the Kochs and Mr Trabert.

What I don't understand is how it has escaped these paragons of genius that when the infrastructure fails, they can no longer carry on business as usual. When the middle/working class fails, there will be few left to buy their stuff.

Oh, wait, I forgot, they all made it completely on their own. Government didn't help, employees didn't help, customers didn't help. They built all their own bridges and roads, produced everything with their own hands and then bought it themselves. Yeah, that's the ticket.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Dave Trabert was paid an undisclosed sum from unnamed sources, some of whom have the last name "Koch."

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry Trabert; Wholly unqualified bootlickers whose complete work experience is running two TV stations into the ground don't qualify for management-level salaries. Boo-hoo.

weeslicket 5 years, 4 months ago

it's a trabertsy i tell ya! a complete trabertsy!!

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