Legislator opposed tax lid
The state’s tax lid, championed by former Gov. Sam Brownback and now causing concerns as Marion County prepares its budget, was a bad idea, according to one of Marion County’s state legislators.
“The tax lid is supposed to do exactly that, lower property taxes,” said State Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Hesston, who represents Hillsboro, Peabody, and the southern portion of Marion County.
The lid was designed to prevent local governments from increasing total spending merely because assessed valuation increased, as it has in Marion County.
With increased valuation, local governments could seem to hold the line by not increasing tax rates but could still collect more money.
The problem, he said, is that there sometimes are additional costs associated with increased valuation, but the lid generally does not allow additional revenue for those projects without a special election.
“The tax lid has a few exceptions, such as emergency services, but generally the lid does not allow for additional dollars to be collected, regardless the source or need,” Schroeder said.
He opposed the lid when it was adopted by the legislature.
“As a former county commissioner it seemed to me there were too many unknowns about the lid that were not addressed,” he said. “Another concern was that if property taxes brought in more revenue than expected, the city or county would never lower the levy as it is too difficult to get the revenue back, resulting in taxes higher than necessary.”
This is precisely the situation Marion County faces — a fear that it will foreclose on future taxing opportunities if it lowers its levy because of a valuation increase this year.
State Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, and State Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, who represents Marion and the northern part of Marion County, did not respond to inquiries about their positions on the tax lid.