Opinion Columns & Blogs

Sedgwick County eager to have state slap on the handcuffs

Sedgwick County commissioners are proud of being alone among the state’s 105 counties in supporting the Legislature’s meddling lid on local property taxes. Commission Chairman Jim Howell and Commissioner Karl Peterjohn testified Tuesday in Topeka in favor of legislation aimed at accelerating the effective date and closing the loopholes in last year’s law, which would require cities and counties to get voter approval before increasing property taxes by more than the rate of inflation. The commission majority at least has proposed a legislative fix for the law’s unworkable timing. But it’s troubling that Sedgwick County is eager to let the state slap the handcuffs on its management of local taxation. As the leaders of every other county in the state understand, such legislation is sure to hamper local governments’ ability to cover their budgets and respond to growth. And it’s absurd for legislators and the governor, who last year passed the largest tax increase in state history, to be dictating how cities and counties handle money. As Commissioner Dave Unruh said in expressing his minority view at Wednesday’s meeting: “I don’t think the state Legislature has the slightest clue of what it takes to run the government of Sedgwick County, Kansas.” – Rhonda Holman