Two Sedgwick County commissioners want to push the Legislature to require voter approval of property tax increases that raise the mill levy.
Two commissioners don't.
And one said she isn't sure how she'll vote.
During a discussion Tuesday about the county's legislative agenda for next year, Commissioner Gwen Welshimer, who lost her seat to Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton, said she wasn't sure which way she would vote because residents in her district apparently don't support lower taxes.
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Welshimer ran for re-election as "Low Tax Gwen," touting her work to decrease the county's mill levy during her time on the board. But she lost her seat, which includes south Wichita, Derby and Mulvane.
Commissioners Karl Peterjohn and Kelly Parks support adding such language to the county's legislative agenda. Commissioners Dave Unruh and Tim Norton said they did not because voters elect them to make decisions about taxes.
At that point, Welshimer said she wasn't sure she could support requiring voter approval of property tax increases because she was unclear what her constituents want. She said they didn't support her low-tax platform "so I don't know what they want."
Later, when it became clear hers would be the swing vote, she said she wanted more time to think about the issue.
Part of Peterjohn's campaign when he ran for office was to let voters decide whether tax increases were warranted.
Currently, all local sales tax increases must be approved by voters under Kansas law. Voters in Sedgwick County, for example, voted for a one-cent sales tax to build Intrust Bank Arena.
Commissioners have lowered the county's mill levy the past few years, opting to do so instead of building onto the jail, which is overcrowded.
About this time last year, Peterjohn also pushed for the issue to be included on the county's legislative agenda, noting that three of four states surrounding Kansas — Oklahoma, Missouri and Colorado — give voters that right.
Parks and Welshimer supported his effort last year, but Norton and Unruh did not and voted against the entire legislative platform because of it.