Democrats Call for Repeal of Tax Lid, Cite local control and broken policy process

Topeka, KS: On Friday, House Democrats voted against a “technical fix” on a tax bill bills passed in the final hours of the 2015 Legislative Session. The bill changed the effective date of the property tax lid from July 1, 2015 to January 1, 2018.

House Democratic Leader Tom Burroughs (D-Kansas City) cited the broken political process and the issue of local control as the reasons Democrats voted against the bill. Burroughs went on to call for the full repeal of the tax lid next session.

The Democratic Caucus voted against both of the original tax bills. “Democrats oppose the property tax lid in principle, whether it goes into effect next month or in three years,” Rep. Burroughs said. “It’s a matter of local control; state government should not dictate to local governments how to balance their budgets.”

Burroughs also criticized the process used to pass the legislation. “The process for making sound public policy broke down this session,” Burroughs said. “This particular element was proposed, written, and passed without any public hearings or debate in the House.” Burroughs also pointed out that the Kansas League of Municipalities, the Kansas Association of Counties, and local units of government opposed the property tax lid.

Rather than “fix” the bill, Burroughs said the property tax lid should have been repealed. “Democrats value and respect the authority of city and county governments. The only ‘fix’ that should have been considered on Sine Die was a repeal of the entire policy. It would have been the responsible thing to do.”

Burroughs said he hopes the legislature will reconsider the policy next session. “Given the opposition to the bill at the local level and the concerns over its implementation and effect, I anticipate the issue will arise again next session, at which point in time the legislature should have public hearings and a full debate on the issue.”

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