As the residents of Wichita consider whether to vote for the $350 million school bond issue proposed by the board of USD 259 (Wichita public school district), be aware that the bond issue and its associated increase in property taxes is not the only tax increase the public schools in Kansas would like to have. The following article from Karl Peterjohn explains.
Tax Funds Being Spent To Push For Kansas Tax Hike
By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network. Released September 20, 2007.
Your tax dollars are being used to push for an increase in Kansas income taxes. Do you want your tax money spent on raising your taxes?
This tax hike plan was initially reported by in the Hawver’s Capitol Report (www.hawvernews.com) state capitol newsletter August 27. The Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) is seeking another statewide income tax hike. This tax hike would be used to provide more state tax dollars to the 296 Kansas public school districts.
What is not clear is how big a tax hike is being sought by the government school spending lobby. KASB is a large organization with over 30 employees operating out of its posh, marble floored offices with a multi-million dollar budget in west Topeka near Wanamaker Road. KASB is funded with tax dollars coming from 295 Kansas public school districts with only one district not having a KASB membership.
In the 2007 legislative session KASB registered 13 lobbyists to push for more spending and additional property tax authority during the 2007 legislative session. In addition to this taxpayer funded lobbying group, many of the KASB member school districts also have their own taxpayer funded lobbyists at the statehouse too.
This tax hike scheme would provide additional tax funds to substantially expand the already budgeted $122 million to pay off the final year of the Kansas Supreme Court’s Montoy school finance lawsuit. That budgeted amount will provide roughly $275 per pupil or over $5,000 more per 20 student classroom next year. For KASB, that is inadequate. The school districts want more money in addition to the increased local property tax increases authorized by the legislature this year for all 296 Kansas public school districts. Your tax dollars are helping raise your property taxes.
This isn’t the only fiscal battle your tax funds are helping finance. There has been a major open records battle trying to get the recalcitrant school districts funding this lawsuit to report how much money has been spent for this litigation.
Kansas taxpayers face automatic tax hikes due to property tax appraisal valuation inflation as well as higher income taxes through inflation generated bracket creep in our state income tax. KASB and other taxpayer funded lobbyists regularly fight any proposals to make it harder to raise state and local taxes in Kansas.
Many Kansans are unhappy about these tax hikes that no elected official has to vote for. More Kansans would be outraged if they knew their tax money is being spent to promote higher taxes as well as more state spending. This year the state’s General Fund budget grew 10.4 percent but that is not enough for these groups.
There are roughly 70 school districts, cities, counties, and other governmental bodies lobbying legislators at the statehouse. Efforts by legislators to stop this abuse have failed often due to the powerful push from these taxpayer funded lobbying organizations.
When the senate’s local government committee chairman Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, held hearings on a bill to stop this taxpayer abuse last year the room was filled with tax funded legislators opposing this bill. The bill was killed by bipartisan senate leadership and never even got debated on the senate floor. So taxpayers are left with this question: How much of your tax dollars are the lobbyists spending at the statehouse trying to raise your taxes?