Vote delayed on Jackson County tax assessment cap

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Jackson County Board of Equalization on Thursday tabled a proposal to cap property assessment increases. The board says it needs more information.

Chairman Christopher Smith says he wants to know how a proposal to cap assessment increases at no more than 14 percent would impact Jackson County in terms of being equitable, legal and fair.

Board member Preston Smith, who represents Blue Springs schools and is not related to the chairman, is asking the board to reduce assessed value increases to 14 percent on properties that received more than a 200 percent hike.

Properties with between 100 and 200 percent increases would be capped at 13 percent and those with less than a 100 percent hike would be capped at 12 percent.

This would not affect any property with an assessed value increase of less than 12 percent. Those values would stay the same.

"Basically what we have now is a train wreck," Preston Smith said. "We are a total disaster. We have areas clearly favored above other areas in taxation. It’s based on factors of race and poverty. These are people who’d be a lot less likely to make appeals. The people who would be likely to make appeals, they avoided raising taxes in those areas."

In a prepared statement, county executive Frank White opposes capping assessed values, calling the proposal arbitrary and full of legal issues that undermine the state mandated duty to determine true market values.

Both the county's assessment department and Preston Smith will have 10 days to explain to the board how they see the proposed cap impacting tax equity, collections and efforts to make assessed values more closely reflect property sales.

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