Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 09 February 2010 20:01
Where’s the support for Brookens’ efforts?
The 2010 Kansas Legislative session is now approaching the halfway point. In an interview right before the start of the session our state representative, Bob Brookens, stated he would support legislative efforts to take back the property-tax exemption given to Keystone/TransCanada in 2006.
The property tax for Marion County from the pipeline has been estimated at $1.9 million. We are fortunate to have a representative who wants to correct this bad law that took away our county government’s taxing authority without any consultation.
Former representative Don Dahl and State Sen. Jim Barnett both supported the law in 2006. I attended a Marion County legislative coffee in 2006 and there was no mention of legislation to exempt Marion County property taxes for the pipeline by either Dahl or Barnett.
I don’t think it is any secret that Marion County and our local school districts are facing some difficult times with the shortfall in funding due to our ailing economy.
This is not a good time to provide 10 years of tax relief to a large wealthy foreign energy company.
But it seems there is very little will on the part of the Marion County Commission, school boards, or citizens to support Rep. Brookens in his efforts to remedy the situation.
For example, rather than spend valuable time and effort to change the tax laws to allow for a “set fee” taxation scheme to fund the new jail, why don’t county commissioners and jail committee members lobby the legislature and create a grassroots effort to gain the property taxes that were unfairly taken from us?
The exempted taxes could very easily fund the building of the jail and pay for the increased operating costs.
Residing in Marion County are representatives of several powerful agricultural groups like Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Corn Growers, and wheat producers groups that could advocate for the sake of landowners and taxpayers in Marion County.
The opportunity to address this issue at the legislature is fast losing time and if it is not dealt with this session it is unlikely to have any chance in the future.