Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 08 January 2013 15:42
Commissioners voice opposition to SB-17
Editor: Following is an open letter sent to the state legislators serving Marion County: State Sen. Jay Emler, State Rep. Don Schroeder and State Rep. John Barker.
The Marion County Commission has become aware of a Senate bill (SB-317) from last year that will be brought up for consideration again in the next legislative session. We are going on record as strongly opposed to SB-317 due to the severe adverse ramifications it will have on Marion County plus the 104 other counties that comprise the state of Kansas.
The property-tax exemption for machines and fixtures passed in 2006 reduced Marion County revenue more than $700,000 annually. The Keystone Pipeline Exemption denied Marion County more than $1.3 million of revenue annually. SB-317 will reduce revenue to Marion County by approximately an additional $400,000.
The total lost revenue amounts to fully a third of our $6 million annual ad valorem property tax revenue. The dollar amounts above reflect lost revenue to the county only, not to all the taxing entities within Marion County. To obtain that approximate figure, simply double the $2.4 million the county stands to lose.
Between the federal government trying to tax everything in sight and the state of Kansas exempting large business holdings from property tax without identifying sources to replace resulting lost revenue, local governments are being drawn and quartered.
To add insult to injury, review of legislative testimony indicates members of the Senate and the House are blaming “out of control local governments” for high property taxes when in fact local governments are simply trying to pay the bills with the only source of revenue they have (property taxes) while experiencing steadily declining revenue due to state sanctioned exemptions.
It is actually simple math: “as tax bases diminish, mill levies increase” to maintain the revenue stream. Residential and small-business property owners are being forced to maintain more than their fair share of the burden.
Marion County requests you please inform us of your position concerning SB-317. Should your position be one of support, please explain in detail why you feel this bill is beneficial to your constituents. We would like to discuss this issue in person with you; however a letter from you is completely acceptable.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Board of County Commissioners: Daniel Holub, chairman; Randy Dallke, member; Roger K. Fleming, member