Quietly, a battle over the coins in our pockets is raging.
Whether or not citizens should have the right to vote on some tax increases is being discussed by staff and elected officials at most levels of government.
The thought of a public vote over higher taxes based on property valuations so concerns public officials that legislative agendas are being set against the new “property tax lid” requirement passed by the legislature last year.
Those agendas will be used by various taxpayer-funded organizations to lobby for the ability to raise taxes, based on increased property valuation, as established by county appraisers, WITHOUT A VOTE.
Under the new ”property tax lid” requirement, local governments will be prohibited from spending funds from property tax revenue generated in excess of the rate of inflation without putting it to the vote.
Those of us “old dogs” remember when elected officials had to stump for all tax increases, and Kansas’ economy did fine. Local accountability is a good thing.
HB 2109 passed last session. As passed, the requirement will take effect in 2018, although SB 316 was introduced this year to move the effective date from 2018 to July 2016.
And taxing entities, including the county and Gardner, have passed legislative agendas to oppose the tax lid.
While the county’s agenda is simple – remove the property tax lid – Gardner’s deliberately crafted stance is disingenuous and more convoluted.
It’s not unusual to hedge your bets in politics, but make no mistake, they want the money.
Elected officials should remember that a city – a county, a school district – represents citizens – they are not entities unto themselves and should not use our money to promote “their” agendas over residents.
The needs of the “city” or “county” or “school district” – are not interchangeable with the needs or wants of residents. Elected officials need to remember who they are representing, individuals, or a quasi-corporate government enterprise?
The agendas make it appear they want our money, and apparently don’t want to be inconvenienced by an election. Simply put, they use our tax money to lobby for the right to increase taxes WITHOUT A PUBLIC VOTE.
Isn’t that “taxation without representation?”
If you want more voice in how, when, and how much your taxes are increased, contact your legislator. And contact your local elected officials and remind them they work for the citizens, not government staff.
Ask them, “Are you for for giving the public a vote on taxes raised in excess of inflation?” and don’t give them wiggle room.
The sky won’t fall if citizens are allowed to vote on tax increases.
It’s called democracy.
Anything else is called dishonesty.