LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Another attack on Kansas farmers

Anthony Hensley | 19th District Senator

TOPEKA—If Sen. Jeff Melcher and other Senate Republicans have their way, farmers and ranchers will see a 64 percent property tax increase as a means to help fill the massive budget hole our state is currently facing.

Sen. Melcher is proposing to impose a $3 per acre excise tax on all land in Kansas. He sees this increase as necessary in order to guarantee agriculture producers are paying their “fair share.” In addition, this increase comes on top of the 47 percent average increase in assessed valuations over the past four years on agriculture land.

Kansas is comprised of 89 percent farmland making this tax increase incredibly burdensome on farmers and ranchers. No matter what their farmland produces, they would still be responsible for paying the burdensome property taxes, potentially eliminating what little profits these farmers and ranchers are already struggling to make.

Melcher’s proposal is contained in Senate Bill 302, which has not passed out of committee. It is expected to be offered as an amendment to whichever tax package is offered up for debate on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.

I strongly oppose Sen. Melcher’s absurd attack on Kansas farmers. His proposal will only stifle the agriculture economy of our state and jeopardize the livelihoods of our food producers, all for the sake of finding the revenue to fill in the budget shortfall caused by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s reckless and failed tax experiment.

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