The League of Women Voters of Lawrence-Douglas County believes that the City of Lawrence should modify its current tax abatement policy to include the following: 1. The local school board must approve abatement of that portion of the property tax which would be collected for public education. 2. The in-lieu taxes should be adjusted annually to reflect changes in property values, using an average rate of inflation in property values in the county. The county appraiser should devise an appropriate average for this purpose. 3. The cost-benefit model, used to determine the worthiness of tax abatement applications, contains many variables, both from data provided by the business and data from the city and other sources. An independent contractor should review data from the city and other sources for accuracy, reliability, and completeness at the time of the initial application and then at three-year intervals.
League believes that the City of Lawrence should adhere to its own existing tax abatement policy by ensuring that annual reports generated for use by the Tax Abatement Administrative Review Committee are complete. The following date should be include in the annual report:
- assessed value of the property when an abatement was granted;
- estimated current assessed value of the property had no new investment been put in place;
- current assessed value of the property under fair assessment;
- estimated current amount of tax abated (= current value × the mill rate × the abatement percentage);
- estimated cumulative amount of tax abated;
- number of years the abatement has been granted;
- initial year of the abatement;
- current amount of in-lieu taxes paid;
- cumulative amount of in-lieu taxes paid.
Legal publication of this report should be required, providing readily available information of citizens about companies currently receiving abatements.