Property tax growth out of step with Kansas changes, says blog post

A blog post by an economist with the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at the Kansas Policy Institute notes the growth in property taxes in Kansas is disproportionate with what might otherwise be expected.

“Over the past 21 years, the Kansas population has grown about 11%, but the property taxes people have paid have grown about 164%,” said Michael Austin. “Kansans are being taxed out of their homes.”

Austin estimates that county and city governments have charged $593 million more in taxes than should be needed to sustain the populations they have.

“You can look at your county or individual city at www.,” said Austin. “Shawnee County, as an example,
the population grew 5% over the past 21 years, but property taxes grew 130%.”

The key here is not the mill levy, but rather the underlying valuation of property.

“What we’re finding is that the appraisal rate, the value of your home, is growing much faster than the actual income you’re receiving,” said Austin. “The value of your home, take that times your tax rate, that’s the effective tax that you pay. That is what’s growing leaps and bounds. Not the mill rate itself, but the appraisals that are growing way beyond what people can pay for.”

Only three Kansas counties, Grant, Hamilton, and Stevens, saw taxes grow slower than the combined rate of inflation and population growth. Two Kansas cities, Kansas City and Leavenworth, saw similar results.