Kansas Republican lawmakers put a spotlight Tuesday on legislation requiring local government officials statewide to send notices to each resident outlining estimated increases in property tax collections tied to valuation adjustments and to conduct special public hearings before annual budget votes.

Sen. Caryn Tyson, chairwoman of the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee, said the objective was to increase transparency of local property tax revenue adjustments adopted by taxing districts or subdivisions receiving more than $5,000 annually in revenue from property taxes.

"We're holding public officials accountable and requiring a vote in order to increase your taxes," said Tyson, a Parker Republican. "Our changes are modeled after programs in Utah and Tennessee. So, we're not reinventing the wheel."

She said property taxes in Kansas escalated 164% from 1997 to 2018 despite an inflation rate of 49.5% during that period.

The bill would require that individual taxpayers be notified of the anticipated dollar amount of increase on property taxes and to be informed of property tax hearings and pending votes on the budget, Tyson said.

Trey Cocking, deputy director of the League of Kansas Municipalities, said the organization valued transparency but was concerned the Senate proposal added a new level of bureaucracy to the budget process for local government. The approach outlined in the Kansas bill isn't as clear as the procedure in Utah, he said.

"The bill also provides that expensive notices would have to go to every new taxpayer even when the only new tax being collected is from new construction," Cocking said.

Rep. John Alcala, a Topeka Democrat who served on the Topeka City Council for 14 years, said some state legislators bristled at federal mandates placed on the state. Some of those same lawmakers have no qualm adopting state mandates for local government, he said.

The property tax requirements in Senate Bill 294 appear to be an overreach, he said.

"I haven't heard of any problems," Alcala said. "There need to be hearings on the bill so local units of government can get involved."

Under the bill, governing bodies would calculate a certified tax rate. The figure is the tax rate necessary to generate the same property tax revenue levied the previous year while factoring in the new year's assessed valuations. These rates would be posted to a website by the Kansas Department of Administration.

No tax rate in excess of the certified rate could be adopted unless public notice was made in advance of a public hearing. The clerk in all 105 counties would notify individual taxpayers by mail of a proposed property tax hike. The Senate bill would mandate public hearings and passage of a resolution or ordinance before exceeding the certified tax rate.