GOP leader says Kansas tax appeals board nominee’s confirmation in jeopardy

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said Tuesday Gov. Laura Kelly's nomination of Robert Marx to a seat on the Kansas State Board of Tax Appeals was in jeopardy due to Kansas Chamber opposition. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said Tuesday Gov. Laura Kelly's nomination of Robert Marx to a seat on the Kansas State Board of Tax Appeals was in jeopardy due to Kansas Chamber opposition. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The nomination of Fairway appraiser Robert Marx to the Kansas State Board of Tax Appeals was punted Tuesday to the full Kansas Senate amid opposition from forces aligned with the Kansas Chamber.

A handful of other nominees submitted by Gov. Laura Kelly were endorsed by the Senate Confirmation Committee without much discussion.

Marx was nominated by the Democratic governor seven months ago, but the recommendation has been bogged down by criticism from lobbyists with the Kansas Chamber. The business organization denounced Marx because he previously supported Johnson County’s plan to prevent significant reduction in the appraised value and property taxes of big box retailers.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, the Overland Park Republican who chaired the Senate Confirmation Committee, said the Kansas Chamber didn’t want Marx on the state board reponsible for impartially resolving disputes between taxpayers and taxing authorities.

“He does have opposition,” said Denning, who shared skepticism Marx could survive a vote in the GOP-dominated Senate. “I think he’ll have a tough time getting through.”

In April, Kelly said Marx was recommended to fill a slot on the board that dives into tax conflicts, including a review of tax exemption decisions made by local governments, grievances resulting from technical errors and potential tax inequities.

A Kansas Senate committee endorsed nomination of Greg Graves to the University of Kansas Hospital Authority. He's a retired CEO of the engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
A Kansas Senate committee endorsed nomination of Greg Graves to the University of Kansas Hospital Authority. He’s a retired CEO of the engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

“Robert brings a long career of meaningful experience to the table,” Kelly said. “I have no doubt he will act impartially and thoughtfully to ensure tax fairness for all Kansans.”

Marx served as president and senior member of Bliss Associates, the oldest and one of the largest appraisals and consulting firms in the Midwest. He has more than 43 years of experience as a professional appraiser across all property types. He is a certified real estate appraiser in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado.

In addition to political questions about Marx, Denning said the formal nomination papers for Marx were submitted 10 days late by the Kelly administration. However, the governor’s office said the documents were presented to the committee by the deadline.

During the Senate committee meeting at the Capitol, members of the panel unanimously recommended the full Senate approve appointment of Greg Graves to a new four-year term on the University of Kansas Hospital Association. He is the retired chief executive officer of the engineering firm Burns & McDonnell.

The committee also agreed to confirm Vickie Hurt as Kansas Credit Union administrator and Constance Owen as director of the Kansas Water Office.