Briefly noted: Latest House K-12 bill would boost SMSD revenues by $4.3 million next year; Prairie Village councilmen criticize tax lid

Shawnee Mission would see additional $4.3 million under House K-12 plan. Under the latest K-12 finance plan being considered by the House, Shawnee Mission schools would receive an additional $4.3 million from the state next year. The legislation currently being worked would add an eventual $500 million per year in funding to the state’s K-12 system. Shawnee Mission’s peer districts Olathe and Blue Valley would fare better under the House bill, seeing and additional $10 million and approximately $7 million next year. [Johnson, Wyandotte county schools see boost under $500 million House plan — Kansas City Star]

Prairie Village councilmen say state’s tax lid bill is an impediment to lowering local mill levy. Responding to an editorial in the Kansas City Star, Prairie Village city council members Chad Andrew Herring and Tucker Poling penned a letter saying that the tax lid bill passed by the state a couple of years ago complicated the question of whether to lower property tax rates in the face of rising home values. “That measure severely restricts the ability of local government to respond to annual revenue fluctuations in a responsible way by efficiently adjusting property tax rates,” they wrote. “In good economic times, like now, it’s tempting to assume healthy revenue numbers will continue. However, sudden and surprising economic downturns happen — and when they do, city revenues plummet. If we cut our tax rates at every opportunity during good times, we may find ourselves in a dangerous budget crisis later. Because of the property tax lid imposed on us by Topeka, we’ll have no efficient way to address it.” Herring and Tucker suggest that in reality, the bill may have the opposite of its intended effect. “The current situation serves as an example of why the state-mandated property tax lid is bad policy. That approach was purportedly intended to encourage lower property tax rates, but in practice it has the opposite effect. Cities across Kansas are now reluctant to lower their property tax rates, because they know they may not be able to adjust the rate up again in the future to address revenue shortfalls.” [The state of Kansas hamstrings its cities on property tax rates – Kansas City Star]