Kansas passes property tax transparency law
Lawmakers in Kansas have adopted a new law (SB13) that would directly notify property taxpayers about hearings on local tax increases resulting from higher property valuations.
The policy, also known as Truth in Taxation, shares similarities with Nebraska state Sen. Ben Hansen’s 2021 priority bill, LB644.
The Kansas Legislature passed this legislation last year, but it was vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly after the legislative session had ended. Kansas legislators returned in 2021 to pass the bill once again with supermajority support, prompting Kelly to sign the bill into law this year.
Residents in many nearby Plains States share concerns about rising property taxes similar to Nebraskans. Property taxes are generally lower in Kansas than in Nebraska, but the Sunflower State has the country’s 15th highest average property tax rate on homeowners, according to the Tax Foundation. That’s a higher rate than all of its neighbors, with the exception of Nebraska.
The Kansas legislation will require counties to mail direct notices to taxpayers about dedicated tax increase hearings that will be scheduled each year between August and September. Counties can also inform property owners electronically if they opt in to receiving those notifications.
Though LB644 has not yet received its first vote in Lincoln, the Kansas legislation won approval with support from legislators in both parties. This result lines up with polling of Nebraska voters that shows directly notifying taxpayers about property tax hearings is overwhelmingly popular across party and demographic lines.