Gov. Sam Brownback Friday called Democrats’ concerns about property taxes a Halloween scare tactic and said his administration won’t raise state property taxes to offset impacts from his income tax plan.
“We’re not going to raise property taxes and we’re going to push property tax raises down on people,” Brownback said. “This is a pure scare tactic. It’s close to two things right now — an election and Halloween.”
Brownback, who has staked his and the state’s future on income tax cuts, said his plan will spur more economic growth and jobs than property tax cuts would.
“The best thing we can do for local education is getting the economy growing so you don’t lose your property valuation, but your property valuation stabilizes and goes up which is what supports a lot of local funding,” Brownback said.
Brownback made his remarks in a speech to the Republican Pachyderm Club.
Speaking directly to absent Democrats, he added: “A part of me also says if you’re so concerned about that then put on a proposal here for something we can do to drop property taxes at the local level instead of just using this scare tactic.”
In their weekly press conference in Topeka, Democratic legislative leaders replied that they had done exactly that and been rebuffed by the Republican-dominated Legislature.
In January, — the day before Brownback’s State of the State speech where he unveiled his income-tax plan — Democratic lawmakers floated a proposal to send half of state surplus revenue to local government to buy down residents’ property taxes. The other half would have gone to schools under the Democrats’ proposal.
That proposal was rejected in a House vote mostly along party lines.