Caryn Tyson: Taxes take center stage in Kansas Legislature
The Senate and House passed Senate Bill (SB) 13 and sent it to the governor’s desk. Each year as you pay your taxes, SB 13 will stop automatic property tax increases that are solely due to property valuation increases. It will stop the shell game of who raised your taxes; stop valuation increases as a result of normal maintenance on your property; allow county treasurers the option to setup payment plans on property taxes; and remove that property tax lid that hasn’t worked because of too many exemptions. I started working on this property tax legislation after hearing from many of you. It was a major undertaking.
I used methodologies from my management and business experience with some major help from friends across the state. The results will help reign in out-of-control property tax increases and allow property owners to see why their taxes increased. It must be good legislation because many legislators are taking credit for it. That’s always a good sign. The governor vetoed it last year. Surely, she won’t make that mistake two years in a row.
Freeze property tax for some seniors
The Senate Tax Committee heard a bill last week that would freeze property tax on low-income seniors and disabled veterans. Currently, the bill would freeze it for anyone over 65 years of age, making less than $50,000 a year, and lives in a house valued less than $350,000 a year. Kansas is taxing people out of their homes and out of the state. We have to find ways to stop the madness.
There are only a couple of weeks left of the regular 2021 session but there is much work to be completed. A major piece of legislation is dealing with the broken unemployment system. The Senate Commerce Committee will have hearings on this legislation all next week. It is an attempt to make the governor fix the system and to shore up the unemployment funds that have been depleted because the governor shut down businesses and paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment claims.