Legislature to deal with property taxes

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce is drafting its annual legislative agenda as the Kansas Legislature will soon meet for its 2019 session in Topeka. Members of the Wyandotte County Legislative Delegation met with members of the chamber’s Legislative Committee Friday morning, Dec. 15, at the Chamber office.

Property taxes are sure to be an issue this legislative session. That issue is particularly important to Tony Privitera who is the incoming chairman of the chamber. He has seen values of commercial property he owns in the Fairfax Industrial Area jump as much as 100 percent.

The chamber’s proposal concerning property taxes favors a system that phases in changes to appraised value over several years. This would allow businesses to plan for and budget for tax increases. It also would allow local units of government time to adjust for revenue increases or decreases. Such a plan might be similar to the valuation used for agricultural land which is valued according to a floating eight-year average.

The chamber is proposing to oppose any funding formula that would place an undue burden on local property taxpayers. This chamber proposal is still in the draft stage and is subject to change.

There will probably be legislative action next year on sports gaming as it is now legal according to federal court action. The chamber is proposing to support sport wagering. It is uncertain who would administer sport wagering; It has been suggested it might be the existing Kansas casinos. This proposal also is in the draft form and is subject to change.

Turning to federal issues, the chamber is proposing to support a fair, accurate and complete count for the 2020 Decennial Census.

The chamber has supported a federal resolution when dealing with immigrants who are already here; this federal resolution should address situations compassionately.

The Board of Directors of the chamber will review the legislative agenda by the end of the year.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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