Mission residents want ‘driveway tax’ repaid

A class action petition has been filed, seeking to compel the city of Mission to repay all the people who paid the transportation utility fee, better known as the “driveway tax,” that the Kansas Supreme Court ruled was illegal.

The petition was filed Sept. 29 in Johnson County District Court on behalf of Mission resident Rex Danley, but also seeking class-action status for everyone who paid the transportation-utility fee between 2010 and 2015.

The Kansas Court of Appeals ruled in July 2015 that the fee imposed on developed property in the city was actually an illegal excise tax, and the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed that ruling in April.

The city of Mission collected nearly $4 million during the years it imposed the tax, and the petition seeks an order requiring the city to refund that money, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. It says a class action petition is justified because “the prosecution of separate actions by individual members of the class would create a risk of inconsistent or varying adjudications.”

“They (taxpayers) want their money back,” said White Goss lawyer Jim Bowers, one of the attorneys who brought the original challenge to the tax in 2012. “It was an illegal tax. They shouldn’t have been required to pay it. It’s time they get it back.”

Mary Jo Shaney, another White Goss lawyer who also brought the original lawsuit, said the latest class action petition “in the most basic terms is an action on behalf of all those who paid that fee that’s now been determined to have been paid illegally.”

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