Prop K To Change How You Pay Property Taxes?

By: Natasha Trelfa Email
By: Natasha Trelfa Email


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Proposition Kansas would change the system to provide predictability when it comes to property taxes. Representative Steve Brunk, (R) Bel Aire, is heading up Prop K. He hopes the plan will help property owners and lawmakers know exactly what to expect from property taxes.

"Homeowners are often hit suddenly and unexpectedly with property taxes," Brunk says.

That's a problem state lawmakers will work on this session and Brunk is heading up a bill he hopes will help.

"This is a structural change in the way property taxes are raised," said Brunk.

Prop K is a system designed to bring predictability and stability to both tax payers and the government.

"It's a hedge against inflation," said Brunk.

The current property tax system in Kansas has two moving parts: The appraised value and the tax rates. Tax increases come from increasing those parts, but some say those hikes are out of control.

"It's just outrageous how much property taxes have increased over the last few years," said Dave Trabert, the president of Flint Hills Center for Public Policy.

In just 10 years, Pratt county property taxes have increased 137 percent, despite a nearly 3 percent drop in population. Sedgwick county has increased 96 percent with just 8 percent growth. Sumner County's taxes went up 65 percent while its population dropped 11 percent.

"I know for several years, it didn't go up and then all of a sudden, it goes up more than it should," explains Mike Evans, a Wichita homeowner.

Under Prop K, properties would receive a baseline valuation. That assessed valuation would then be frozen. Tax payers could then expect a two percent increase in taxes each year and the property would never revalue unless altered.

"Prop K provides a lot of predictability for property owners and government," Trabert says. "It also provides a great deal of transparency because there's no more wondering what will happen with the appraised value."

Brunk thinks the system would force lawmakers to be up front about tax rates. For property owners, having a better sense of what to expect would bring some sense of security.

"We'll wait and see what happens with this one but I'd like to see something that has accountability and visibility," said Earl Graffius, a Wichita homeowner.

Prop K would not place any limits on revenues, mil levies or limit government's autonomy. Prop K was introduced to both the House and the Senate in an attempt to move it through the hearings process faster.
If it passes, it would take effect January, 2010. For more information on Prop K, click on the link below.

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