Property-tax shift – There seems to be no limit to how hard this Kansas Legislature, under the guiding hand of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, will work to reduce taxes for large corporate interests, even if it means shifting the state’s revenue burden to the average working family. Among the ongoing tax discussion in Topeka is a bill that would redefine commercial and industrial machinery and equipment in an effort to make such property tax-exempt. While companies would save money on their taxes, the burden to support local government and schools once again would be shifted to the average homeowner. As long as the majority of lawmakers remain eager to support any piece of “pro-business” legislation placed on their desks, average Kansans can expect a long, sustained attack on their futures and a tax policy that continues to represent all interests except theirs.
Legislation would change the definition of “fixtures” for tax purposes, and the upshot is that certain businesses will get a break on property taxes and – you guessed it! – the load likely will end up being passed on to residential homeowners, farmland and small businesses. The state budget division indicates the bill would cause a loss of nearly $583 million in assessed valuation – translating into a statewide loss of $76 million of property taxes and a loss of $11.7 million for the state budget. Where is that money going to come from? Hint: Look in the mirror, then look at your checkbook.