Prairie Village mayor takes legislature to task after proposal that would limit cities’ ability to determine own property taxes

Laura Wassmer
Laura Wassmer
The Kansas Senate’s adoption on Wednesday of an amendment limiting cities’ ability to determine their own property tax rates prompted Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer to issue a notice to residents outlining her opposition to the measure and encouraging them to contact their representatives.

The amendment to HB 2109 would prohibit Kansas municipalities from raising their property tax rates beyond the Consumer Price Index rate without getting the approval of residents via a local election. Here’s the text from the bill:

Property Tax Provisions
The bill would prohibit cities and counties from adopting appropriations or budgets with revenues from certain increases in property taxes that exceed the rate of inflation until such resolutions proposing the increases have been approved at a regularly scheduled election.

In her note to residents, Wassmer took legislators to task for failing to “focus on the state’s self-inflicted imbalanced budget” and deciding instead to “dabble in the City of Prairie Village’s fiscally sound, transparent, and balanced budget that funds high quality services and produces an AAA bond rating, which is better than the state of Kansas.”

“I believe local taxing decisions are best left to locally elected officials,” Wassmer wrote. “Unlike the development of the State’s budget, the City of Prairie Village has an open and transparent budget process, including publication of the budget, public hearings, and passage of an ordinance in the event the city seeks to bring in more revenue than the previous year.”

It’s not the first time in recent history members of the Prairie Village governing body have bristled at the idea of state legislators interfering with the city’s ability to manage itself. Former Mayor Ron Shaffer and many city councilors vehemently protested the state’s passage of the 2014 law that stripped the city’s ability to restrict the open carry of weapons in its limits.

You can read Wassmer’s full message here.