TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A group of Kansas Democrats is rolling out their plan to cut property taxes.
Democratic lawmakers, including some vying for a slot in the Kansas House of Representatives, announced a residential property tax reduction plan on Monday.
“Property taxes are going up yet again, and the Kansas Legislature needs to do something about it,” said Representative Vic Miller, D-Topeka.
Miller and Representative Mike Amyx, Democratic members on the Interim House Taxation Committee, introduced a three-pronged property tax reduction plan with the support of dozens of House Democratic incumbents and candidates.
One of the steps includes introducing a constitutional amendment to reduce the assessment level for residential property from 11.5% to 9%. Miller explained how the current assessment level is impacting Kansas residents during a press conference on Monday.
“As opposed to paying 35% of all taxes in the state in 1992, now homeowners pay an astonishing 54% of the total,” Miller said.
Under their plan, residents will still contribute an estimated 48% of the total property taxes in the state. They estimate that this will save Kansas homeowners $694 million per year. Another part of the plan would raise the residential property exemption from the statewide school mill levy to $65,000.
In the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers raised the residential property exemption for the 20 million USD general fund levy from $20,000 to $40,000. According to Miller, this resulted in an estimated average property tax reduction of $46 per home.
With their new proposal, Democrats said that the Property Valuation (PVD) indicates that receipts to the State School District Finance Fund would be expected to decrease by about $55 million, an amount that would be made up through additional appropriations to ensure schools stay fully funded. The plan also includes replenishing and enhancing the Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund (LATVRF).
The fund was established so that the state would provide direct funding to local units of government to provide relief to property tax owners. However, it has not been fully funded for nearly two decades, since the early 2000’s.
Democrats are proposing that the LAVTRF be replenished with the annual $54,000,000 required by law (K.S.A. 79-2959) and, for the next four years, enhanced by $108,000,000.
Kim Zito, a Democratic candidate for the Kansas House, said this would give local governments a new tool to keep residential property taxes low.
“We are standing here saying… release the money, we have it… release the money, let’s make good on the promise that we have,” Zito said.
The plan is expected to be presented to the Interim Taxation Committee prior to the 2023 Legislative session.