Dems call for bills to lower property taxes as high valuation notices received

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 2:19 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - House Democrats in Kansas have called for hearings on three bills that would lower property taxes as Kanans receive their yearly property valuation notices which have been considered quite steep in 2023.

Democrat leaders in the Kansas House of Representatives announced on Wednesday, March 8, that homeowners across the state are concerned about the property valuation notices they received this week.

With some areas of Kansas seeing a valuation spike upward of 25% and 30%, House Democrats said there is a very serious reality that some families will be taxed out of their homes. They said some averages from across the state are as follows:

  • Shawnee Co. - 13% increase
  • Johnson Co. - 12% increase
  • Douglas Co. - 9% increase
  • Leavenworth Co. - 14.8% increase
  • Wallace Co. - 20% increase

“We knew this was coming, which is why my Democratic colleagues and I rolled out this plan last summer. I am certain my colleagues across the aisle are hearing from their constituents about property valuations just as much as I’m hearing from mine, if not more,” said House Democratic Leader Vic Miller of Topeka. “Are the Republicans waiting until the valuations hit 50% increases before they’ll act? Let’s do it, already.”

The legislators again urged the Legislature as a whole to at least hold hearings on the following three-pronged property tax proposal to ease the property tax burden on homeowners:

  1. HCR 5009 - A constitutional amendment to reduce the assessment level of Residential Property from 11.5% to 9%. Even with this reduction, residential property will still contribute an estimated 48% of the total property taxes in the state.
  2. HB 2366 - A bill to replenish and enhance the Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund. Democrats have proposed that the LAVTRF be replenished with the annual $54 million required by law and for the next four years, enhanced by an equal annual amount of $54 million.
  3. HB 2364 - A bill that would amend state law to raise the residential property exemption from the statewide school mill levy to $65,000. Democrats have proposed raising the exemption again - this time from $40,000 to $65,000. The fiscal note for this is $55.6 million in FY 2025 and $62.3 million in both FY 2026 and 2027.

“Local governments were promised the LAVTRF but the Legislature has failed to keep it funded for 20 years,” said Rep. Mike Amyx. We’ve got the money and Kansans have the need. Let’s at least have hearings.”

Shawnee county appraiser Steve Bauman reiterated that his office does not decide on any tax increases and said that their valuations only reflect the current markets. The tax side will fall to the county commissions and other taxing entities, who will consider several budgetary factors that would determine any changes.

“The appraised values increasing are a reality of what’s happening in our markets which is a side issue to the tax increase debate,” said Bauman. “The appraised values are statutorily required to be set at what a property should be able to sell for as of January 1st each year.”