Jackson County Executive Frank White Argues Against Assessment Lawsuit

An important statement from the courthouse leader pushes back against widespread complaints over controversial increases in property taxes . . . Here's the word:

 Jackson County Executive urges immediate action to end assessment lawsuit threatening school funding and essential public services

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. is calling for the immediate withdrawal of an ongoing lawsuit filed against Jackson County by the Attorney General and Missouri State Tax Commission, emphasizing the significant financial risks posed to school districts and essential public services.

The lawsuit threatens to nullify recent property assessments, potentially resulting in devastating financial losses for school districts, amounting to nearly $1,500 per student. For example, the Lee’s Summit School District could face a loss of $32 million, nearly one-tenth of its revenue. Such losses would severely impact the ability of schools to provide quality education to our children.

Lee’s Summit, Fort Osage, Oak Grove and Independence school districts have highlighted the potential catastrophic damage from the lawsuit. However, the impact extends to every public and charter school in Jackson County, with irreparable harm anticipated due to what is perceived as a political attack on the county's adherence to state law.

“This lawsuit creates the potential for sizeable tax increases for tens of thousands of Jackson County residents to make up for the artificial reduction in valuations sought by the lawsuit,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “The risk to our residents and our children is too great not to try everything we can to avoid the potential catastrophe that our school districts have warned the court about.”

The increases some residents have seen in last year’s state-mandated reassessment were a combination of economic changes that have significantly increased home values and years, if not decades, of inconsistent and unfair property assessments in Jackson County that tended to have more to do with who you know than how much your property is worth.

Taxpayers concerned about property valuations already have access to a process to challenge their assessments by appealing to the county’s Board of Equalization and the State Tax Commission. An arbitrary reduction in some property values would jeopardize essential public services like public schools and unfairly burden taxpayers, impacting the entire community.

“Market trends indicate significant increases in property values in Jackson County, driven by increased demand and external investments,” White said. “Assessments reflect these market realities and invalidating them would provide only temporary relief while setting the stage for future market-driven increases.”

Jackson County has demonstrated a commitment to fair and lawful assessments, as evidenced by compliance with state law and the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling dismissing previous class-action lawsuits.

“I urge the Attorney General and State Tax Commission to reconsider the lawsuit and collaborate with the county to address concerns through constructive dialogue to ensure that schools, public safety services and other critical entities continue to receive necessary funding to serve the community effectively,” White said.


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