Doesn’t support raising property tax rate
by John Moran
Feb 28, 2013 | 1277 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Moran
John Moran
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On February 21, the House passed H265, which I voted against, raising the statewide homestead property tax rate five cents and the nonresidential rate six cents. Proponents of the bill argue that they are merely supporting decisions by local school boards to increase budgets.

However, rates are based on property tax contributions to the education fund, and, currently, property owners are being overcharged in two ways:

First, programs not directly K-12, have been billed to the fund over the years, thus, raising the burden on all property tax payers; and,

Second, as about one-third of education funding comes from nonproperty tax sources, such as dedicated statewide revenues and general fund transfers, any shortfalls, such as the outstanding $27 million in the general fund, are picked up by property owners.

During the debate on H.265, Rep. Anne Donahue offered a defeated amendment that I supported, that would have shifted the cost of the current use program out of the education fund.

Rep. Heidi Scheuermnn offered an amendment I supported that challenged the Legislature to replace present education funding. Her amendment was replaced by a compromise amendment from Rep. Bill Lippert, which I opposed.

Until we confine ourselves to using the education fund for K-12 purposes and until we guarantee proper general fund transfers, the property tax payer will be overburdened. I have introduced H.352 which would restore the $27 million owed to the education fund. I will continue to call for fiscal notes for legislation that affects property taxes.

I will also continue to work with others not only for fairness in education funding, including small school grants, but also for equal educational opportunity in education spending.
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