LETTER: Property tax relief complex issue
In June, Sen. Mike Folmer wrote, "There's just one bill providing for the total elimination of school property taxes: SB76. It's time to either support this measure or offer an alternative that gets the much needed and overdue goal of total elimination of school property taxes because no tax should have the power to leave you homeless."
Wonderful words, right? Heard them all before?
Then Rep. Keith Gillespie wrote: What it will take to end school property taxes. His HB 1317 would make necessary constitutional changes so the General Assembly could address residential school property taxes without impacting taxes paid on commercial properties. This bill would have to pass in two consecutive sessions before being placed on the statewide ballot. Who thought this up? He continues, another bill, HB 1316, would specifically amend the constitution to take into account actual student enrollment. This bill has same requirements as HB1317 to be placed on the ballot.
There's more, HB1315 has to do with construction and design of the schools and would be based on energy needs, building size, district population, etc. Districts would have to follow specific building designs based on the above data and would be required to adhere to suggested designs or lose state reimbursement for the construction costs.
Rep. Gillespie’s plan, HB 1318, would raise personal income tax to 4.4 percent from 3.07 percent and increase the sales tax to 7 percent from 6 percent. Sounds a lot like HB 76.
It gets better. The Senate just voted 42 to 2, on Tuesday, a referendum so voters can amend the constitution to allow counties, municipalities and school districts to exclude up to 100 percent of the median assessed value of homestead property from taxation. Currently, governments can exclude up to 50 percent. Key word here is governments decide.