Douglas County Republican Party passes resolution asking local governments to revert taxes back to 2021 level, issue refunds
photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World
The top leaders of the Douglas County Republican Party have come together to unanimously ask the City of Lawrence, county commissioners and other local governments to immediately reduce taxes.
New Douglas County GOP Chair Brent Hoffman said approximately 55 precinct committee men and women approved a resolution asking local governments to revert their local tax collections back to levels last seen in 2021. Hoffman said every precinct committee man or woman in attendance voted in favor of the resolution.
“The financial condition of citizens in Lawrence and Douglas County has deteriorated with inflation, and they are dealing with ever rising fees and taxes,” Hoffman said. “We are pretty concerned, and we think the concern reaches across party lines.”
Specifically, the local GOP wants local governments to adopt a revenue-neutral stance on taxes. That means local governments would adjust their property tax mill levies down so that they are collecting the same dollar amount in taxes as they did the previous year.
Most local governments have not been using a revenue-neutral strategy, and they often have said such an approach would be irresponsible because governments are seeing their costs increase due to both inflation and population growth, which creates more demand for services.
In the resolution that the GOP is delivering to local governments, including the county, cities and school districts, it asks for:
• An immediate review of all operations to decrease spending.
• “Respect Douglas County residents by placing their needs above the tax revenue goals of local government authorities.”
• Create meaningful plans to reduce tax and fee burdens.
• Refund “all of the 2022 property tax local increases above the amount of property tax collected in 2021 to Douglas County property owners.”
Such reductions would cause cuts to local services. When asked by the Journal-World, Hoffman said the group has not come up with specific spending reductions that governments should implement.
“I don’t have any specific ideas on things to cut at this point,” Hoffman said. “I think they have plenty of things they can cut if they want to provide relief to citizens of Douglas County and Lawrence, but that is their job and they should do a better job of it.”