Utah’s Truth in Taxation law highlighted in major property tax reform in Kansas

With overwhelming bipartisan majorities, the Kansas Legislature recently passed a comprehensive property tax transparency bill (SB 18) modeled specifically from Utah’s longstanding “Truth in Taxation” law, paving the way for major tax relief for Kansas Taxpayers in the future.

Utah’s #1 in the nation status on property tax policy was highlighted in several articles regarding the passage of the bill. Jonathan Williams, Executive Vice President of Policy at ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) said:

“Since its enactment in 1985, Utah’s Truth in Taxation law has helped the Beehive State maintain a low property tax burden. When the law was passed, Utah had the 24th lowest property taxes in the country, but thanks in large part to their Truth in Taxation law, Utah has improved to 14th lowest today. This has been one of the policy reforms that has kept Utah ranked first in America for best economic outlook in every edition of the Rich States, Poor States report.

“Utah’s Truth in Taxation law has effectively controlled the growth of its property tax assessments and overall burdens. The law requires that citizens be notified of the intent to raise taxes and invited to a public hearing to voice concerns. This also allows local units of government to make their case if they feel additional revenue may be needed. If a local government decides they want to increase spending, the Truth in Taxation process requires local elected officials take recorded votes to authorize the new rates or assessments.

‘The purpose of Truth in Taxation is to provide “notification, disclosure, and the elimination of automatic property tax increases.” In describing the importance of truth in taxation, the Utah Taxpayers Association, led by former Utah Senator Howard Stephenson, put it this way: ‘Local governments should not receive an automatic 12% revenue increase simply because property valuations increased 12%.’

Now, Kansas has become the latest state to realize the benefits of putting taxpayers in control of the otherwise difficult policy issue of addressing harmful local property tax burdens and the byzantine property tax assessment process.”

The Kansas Policy Institute also highlighted the following:

“SB 13 was modeled after Truth in Taxation legislation in Utah and Tennessee, which have had property tax transparency in place for over 30 years.

“When new property values are set this year, mill levies will automatically be reduced so that the new valuations bring in the same dollar amount of property tax to cities, counties, and school districts as in 2020. If local officials want to increase the revenue-neutral mill levy, they must notify citizens of their intent, hold a public hearing to accept input, and then vote on the entire property tax increase they impose.”

The Utah Taxpayers Association is proud to have been the pioneering force behind Utah’s Truth in Taxation law since its passage in 1985 and will continue to be a staunch defender of it and fight against efforts to weaken it with automatic inflationary increases each year as it serves as model policy for other states to follow in fighting against relentless and unchecked property tax hikes by taxing entities.