Property tax increase in Overland Park, KS. Poll: 70% of likely voters want spending cuts instead of tax increases. Strong majority OK with cuts to services.

Read my recent Email as a Web page, here.

The vote is expected tonight at Overland Park City Hall.  It impacts everyone in Kansas City.

Benjamin B. Hodge

– Chair, State & Local Reform Educational Group of Kansas
– State Representative (Overland Park and Olathe), 2007-’08
– Johnson County Community College Trustee, 2005-’09

Monday, August 15, 2011


Poll: 80% of likely 2012 Overland Park voters oppose
the planned 46% increase in property taxes

70% of Overland Park voters want spending cuts instead of tax increases.
A strong majority are OK with cuts to services.

Read below for more details on poll.


Tonight, the Overland Park City Council is expected to vote unanimously to approve a 46% property tax increase.  This, despite only one public hearing after the budget was announced, and despite this public hearing occurring after the Council had already unanimously voted to tentatively approve the 46% tax increase.

But 80% of likely 2012 voters in Overland Park oppose this tax increase, according to a scientific poll performed by the State and Local Educational Group of Kansas.  Click here for detailed results to this poll, including survey wording.

The poll was conducted Tuesday, August 9, and Wednesday, August 10.  The margin of error is +/-5.4%.  Poll demographics were 55% female, and 45% male.  50% over the age of 50, and 50% under the age of 50.  By party affiliation:  51% Republican, 29% Unaffiliated, and 20% Democratic.

Here are some of the results:

Question: Now I’m going to ask you some questions about your city government in Overland Park. Like many governments, the Overland Park city government faces budget shortfalls. Going forward, how should Overland Park balance its budget? Should the city government increase taxes, or cut spending?

To balance budget,
increase taxes or cut spending?    Count             Percent

Cut spending:                             227                66.8%
Increase taxes:                            79                 23.2%
Undecided:                                   34                 10.0%

Total:                                            340                 100%

Question: Asked a different way… by how much should city spending be decreased? Not at all?  1-5%?  6-10%  Or 10% or more?

Spending cuts?  By how much?    Count             Percent

Not at all:                                      46                13.5%
1-5% in cuts:                             134                39.4%
6-10% in cuts:                           100                29.4%
10% or more in cuts:                 38                 11.2%
Undecided:                                  22                   6.5%

Total:                                          340                 100%

Question: Generally speaking, would you prefer a more active government with more services and higher taxes, or a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes?

More or less government?             Count             Percent
Government with more
services and higher taxes:      91                26.8%

Government with fewer
services and lower taxes:    220                64.7%

Undecided:                                     29                   8.5%

Total:                                          340                 100%

Question: Would making cuts to city services be acceptable to you? Or unacceptable to you?

Cuts to city services?                      Count             Percent

Acceptable:                               187                  55.0%
Unacceptable:                          115                  33.8%
Undecided:                                 38                  11.2%

Total:                                          340                 100%

Question: Currently, the Overland Park City Council is planning to increase property taxes by 46% in order to balance the budget. Do you support this 46% tax increase, or do you oppose it?

Support or oppose the
planned tax increase?                      Count             Percent

Support:                                        47                 13.8%
Oppose:                                      273                 80.3%
Undecided:                                   20                   5.9%

Total:                                           340                 100%

Remember, this tax increase affects you, whether or not you live in Overland Park.  When one local government increases taxes, it gives cover for other cities and schools to do the same.  They’re confident that you, the voter, will not be paying close enough attention to these tax increases.  And don’t just take my word for it.  Consider these words from Kansas City Star editorial board member Yael Abouhalkah, about Overland Park city manager Bill Ebel:  “Ebel has become somewhat of a hero to other city administrators in the Kansas City region. Most of them would love to make a similar proposal to retain employees and maintain services.”

The big government ball is already rolling in some cities.  In Missouri, the Center School District approvedproperty tax increase, but only by 200 votes.  Grandview approved a 5% sales tax increase at hotels.

In Kansas, Lenexa wants an 11% property tax increase, and Prairie Village is considering a tax increase, and Wyandotte County plans a 9% property tax increase.

Remember: Tax increases, along with the constant uncertainty of tax levels, have negative consequences on the local economy:

KSHB 41 reports that in recent months, more than a dozen businesses in Mission, KS, have announced their closing or moving.  Just a year ago, the Mission City Council voted for a large tax increase of its own.  It was done through a darkly-hilarious and unheard-of “driveway tax,” which increased taxes $72 for an average homeowner, thousands for small business owners, and $64,750 for Target.  Because Mission chose to also apply the property tax to churches, the Alliance Defense Fund and local churches are suing the city, calling it a tax on religious activity.
Tonight’s budget meeting in Overland Park is at 7:30 p.m.

City Hall is located near 85th St. and Antioch Road.  The exact address is 8500 Santa Fe Drive.  For driving directions, click here.

Contact information:
Mayor Carl Gerlach

Ward 1
Councilmember Terry Happer Scheier
Councilmember Dave Janson

Ward 2
Council President Curt Skoog
Councilmember Paul Lyons

Ward 3
Councilmember Donna Owens
Councilmember David White

Ward 4
Councilmember Fred Spears
Councilmember Terry Goodman

Ward 5
Councilmember Jim Hix
Councilmember John Skubal

Ward 6
Councilmember Rick Collins
Councilmember Dan Stock


Thank you for your time, as always.


Benjamin B. Hodge

– Chair, State & Local Reform Educational Group of Kansas
– State Representative (Overland Park and Olathe), 2007-’08
– Johnson County Community College Trustee, 2005-’09
– Chair, Special Committee on Eminent Domain
and Property Rights, County Government, 2006
– Kansas Republican Party Delegate, 2009-’10

Email: [email protected]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hodge.benjamin
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/benjaminhodge
Web: KansasReform.com
Phone: (913) 259-4236



Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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