Kansas Chamber Responds to Governor's Veto of Taxpayer Due Process Bill

May 19, 2016

Kansas Chamber Responds to Governor's Veto of Taxpayer Due Process Bill

Topeka, Kan. (May 18, 2016) - Today, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce expressed its strong disappointment in the veto by Governor Sam Brownback of legislation passed unanimously by both the Kansas House and Senate that would guarantee a uniform due process step for any and all aggrieved Kansas taxpayers in the appeals process.         

Kansas Chamber endorsed legislation in 2014 provided aggrieved taxpayers with the option to appeal any final decision of the Board of Tax Appeals to the district court and receive a full trial on the evidence. However, subsequent court interpretations failed to fulfill the legislative intent of a right to a full evidentiary review.           

SB 280, which passed both houses unanimously, clarified the 2014 law by making it clear that taxpayers can appeal to district court and receive a full evidentiary hearing during which issues of law and fact would be determined anew. The comprehensive tax bill also contained some 15 other reforms, including provisions dealing with the removal of appraisers for failing to meet continuing education requirements, tax treatment of bed & breakfasts, oil & gas leases, airport property, agricultural use and appraisal processes.

Kansas Chamber CEO, Mike O'Neal, stated he is perplexed by the Governor's veto message. The Governor's veto message purports to be about fairness. The Governor noted: "Taxpayers should contest their past tax obligations before the board and the courts under the laws that apply to everyone. Most Kansans lack the resources necessary to seek special treatment through the legislative process."

"This legislation was introduced and passed unanimously with all Kansas taxpayers in mind. The provisions cover contested sales tax, income tax and property tax disputes. The Governor's office lobbied to have the provisions apply only to property tax disputes, which would have limited the classes of taxpayers protected. The Senate rejected that version and the final version covered all taxpayer classes", stated O'Neal. "This was never about one taxpayer, at least as far as we and the Legislature were concerned. It may have been about one taxpayer in the eyes of the Administration, though, and we feel that comprehensive bi-partisan legislation does not deserve veto treatment over an isolated battle between the State and a single taxpayer", O'Neal added. "SB 280 would treat all Kansas taxpayers in the tax appeal process equally with regard to their appeal rights. Although this appears to satisfy the Governor's stated desire, his veto of the bill on the basis of that very provision is, in a word, perplexing", concluded O'Neal.

The Kansas Chamber, with headquarters in Topeka, is the leading statewide pro-business advocacy group moving Kansas towards becoming the best state in America to live and work. The Chamber represents small, medium and large employers all across Kansas. The mission of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is to continually strive to improve the economic climate for the benefit of every business and citizen and to safeguard our system of free, competitive enterprise.   

For more information on the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, visit www.kansaschamber.org.