Local city and county leaders were initially cautious and restrained in reacting to a proposal supported by Gov. Sam Brownback to automatically reduce local property-tax rates when appraisal values increase, unless local governments vote to keep the mill levy the same. Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan told The Eagle that county services would have to be cut, but that “if this is what the state believes is important, we will make it work.” During Wednesday’s meeting, Sedgwick County Commissioners Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau advocated adding a statement to the county’s legislative agenda expressing support for the proposal (a discussion deferred until next week). But leaders in Douglas County were not as subdued or positive, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. “Somebody might want to read the budget law and see what we actually have to do now before they try to tack on another requirement,” Lawrence City Manager David Corliss said, adding that “I don’t want someone on the third floor of the Statehouse telling us how to spend or raise our money.” Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan complained that the proposal is another attempt by the state to off-load problems: “In Douglas County we’ve picked up costs to keep the (Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services) SRS office open, to handle the state’s new vehicle registrations software, to implement (Secretary of State) Kris Kobach’s phony voter-fraud laws, and to keep our courts open and operating, The governor’s income-tax cuts will force schools districts and local governments to raise property taxes to pay for the basics like public schools and water quality. So this isn’t a surprise. Blaming others is what they do best.”
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