House Democrats introduce package to reduce property tax burden on Kansans

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 2:15 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - House Democrats have introduced a package they hope will successfully pass to reduce the property tax burden on homeowning Kansans.

Democrats in the Kansas House of Representatives announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15, that they have introduced a package that would mitigate the threat of rising property taxes to homeownership in the Sunflower State.

Legislators have called for immediate action to keep Kansans housed as inflation continues to rise.

“I’ve spoken to a number of constituents who are feeling the pressure of rising property taxes. For all kinds of reasons, folks simply can’t afford these hikes,” said House Democratic Leader Vic Miller (D-Topeka). “The refreshed package we rolled out today would make a huge difference in the lives of these people. Targeted, direct relief to homeowners across Kansas is where we must begin. Enough of the political extortion from Republican leadership.”

House Dems noted that the new package would call for a replenished Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund to lower residential property taxes. It would be funded at the statutorily required 3.63% of state sales and use taxes - $130 million which is about $26 million more than the 2022 proposal. It would also direct the relief to only residential properties to ensure relief goes straight to homeowners, regardless of budget.

The package also proposes that state lawmakers raise the exemption on the 20-mill school levy from its current level of $42,000 to $100,000. This proposal last year was made to raise the exemption to $65,000. The acceptance of this proposal would mean relief of $110 million annually for homeowners.

Lastly, Kansas Democrats said the package would provide for a vote on a proposed classification amendment that would reduce the assessment rate on the residential class of property from 11.6% to 9% over the next 5 years. If adopted, this would mean an estimated $300 million in annual residential tax reductions at the end of the 5-year period. Introducing the phase-in approach addresses concerns that the shift to other classes would be too dramatic while maintaining a substantial level of assistance for Kansans.

“This isn’t a partisan issue. I know property taxes are crushing Kansans across the state,” says State Representative Mike Amyx (D-Lawrence). “We’ve got a realistic, impactful package of solutions ready to go. We’re ready to hit the ground running when the Legislature reconvenes in January.”

Under these proposals, House Dems said homeowners will benefit from more than $500 million in tax relief for an average reduction on their property tax bill of 16%. Legislators hope to respond to the nearly 70% of Kansans who fear rising property taxes.