Fix Tax Assessments
In 2019, a dedicated group of freedom fighters and I fought against the 2019 County Tax Assessment in Jackson County. We did research showing discrimination against 70,000 taxpayers in the inner city.
While 72,000 taxpayers had increases of exactly 14.9 percent, taxpayers living near Troost average tax increases multiple times larger than that. County officials pushed the limits of what the law allows, meaning if they would have approved a 15% increase, they would have had to physically go out and inspect the properties. Instead, they decided to put more money in the County's coffers, burden property owners and not have to pay additional labor for the inspection. This was outrageous and those who were hit worst were the very people who needed tax relief, not an overload of more financial hardship.
Although my team and I made recommendations to the Board of Equalization showing how to fix these assessments several times, these county officials ignored these recommendations, accepting none. We also met with many federal, state and county officials in hopes of fixing the assessment inequities. But that was unsuccessful, also. As a result, four lawsuits were filed and more than 60 news stories were shown on local TV stations. Two of the lawsuits are still pending in appeal.
I believe the 2023 County Assessment could be even worse than what taxpayers suffered in 2019.
The Jackson County Legislature with the assistance of Frank White, awarded an out-of-state firm $17M to conduct the assessment. During 2021, contractors from the firm conducted physical inspections on my parcels in the county. That will permit the County to increase assessments by more than 15 percent on those properties when the estimated bills are mailed in May 2023.
This out-of-state firm has increased assessments sky-high in some areas of the country.
See this article from 2020 in Pennsylvania: 3 School Districts Claim Tax Burden’s Too Heavy for Delaware County Residential Property Owners
A provision in the County Charter puts the responsibility of fixing errors in the assessment on the County Executive. In Article III, Section 6, Item 9. “Correct errors in assessment and tax records.”
Although is is Frank White's job to protect taxpayers, it is apparent, he did not exercise his authority in 2019 to fix the assessment. It's time for Frank White to be fired and when I am elected, I intend to fix any and all errors which are in the assessments and tax records protecting taxpayers from extreme government overreach.
We should have a County government we can be proud of and right now, we are among the highest taxed in the state with a crime rate that is skyrocketing as County administrators refuse to be transparent when we ask them for accountability.
Frank White and county administrators regularly ignore the Missouri's Sunshine Law. In order to stop the public from attending meetings, or asking questions, some boards gives the shortest amount of time to announce their hearings, or don't make any announcements at all. Public meetings are held, but the website does not post an agenda or time/place of the meetings. Not only that, they are supposed to be accountable to the tax payers with their records, votes, actions and deliberations.
"The Sunshine Law declares Missouri's commitment to openness in government in § 610.011, RSMo.: “It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law." - Attorney General, Eric Schmidt.
Jackson County also has a department of Ethics, Human Relations and Citizen Complaints. This department is supposed to investigate complaints made by citizens about County employees. However, when a complaint is filed, there is no information or follow-through as to what action, if any, was taken. The mission of the department is to “secure and protect the individual rights of citizens of Jackson County” but there is nothing to indicate they actually do their job. Frank White appointees oversee this department. When I'm elected, I intend to gut this department and start over with people who work for the taxpayers.
I will state this clearly to each and every person working for the County: "For any employee of Jackson County who does want to serve the people of Jackson County and refuses to recognizes who pays their salary--Leave. Please get out of the County government because we don’t need you on the public payroll."
As County Executive, I want a team of people who understand daily that they work for the people of Jackson County and they owe them their best. Anybody who doesn’t believe that should find another job now.
Open Jackson County for Business
In January 2021, the Missouri State Auditor released an audit of Jackson County government which found the 2019 assessment was 70 percent higher than any other county in the state.
We also were made aware in 2020 and 2021, COVID mandates from both the St. Louis and Jackson County Health Departments were more strict than any other county in the state, with the possible exception of St. Louis County.
As a result of this assessment and the COVID rules, between 2016 through 2020, the 5-County Kansas City Region has lost a total of 29,000 jobs. The largest number of jobs were lost in the accommodation/food services industry, with 6,276 jobs lost. Those numbers can be reviewed by reading the Kansas City Economic and Workforce Report.
These devastating losses have led to many families losing their homes, their cars and even their way of life. They no longer are able to feed and clothe their children or put a roof over their heads.
Mandates from Frank White, who has been ruling with an iron fist, fail to understand how unConstitutional mandates effect businesses and the community. As long as businesses are being handicapped by County officials and an out-of-control Health Department, each time they come up with a new variant, a new excuse and a new scare tactic, real harm is being done to the economy of Jackson County.
As County Executive, I will make a promise to the people of Jackson County that, I will work hard to create a pro-business climate to create more jobs, ensuring people are able to care for their families. The mandates end.
Because of overreaching politicians like Frank White and the County Legislators, that climate does not exist today. I will work together with the people of Jackson County to help our community heal and become a prosperous and healthy county again.