This week preparation for the 2016 Legislative Session began in earnest as UAC staff met with county assessors and clerks to discuss upcoming legislative priorities.
The assessors are looking at a number of fixes to the code, the most important of which deals with the privilege tax (which is threatened due to a recent court decision), issues surrounding greenbelt, and the ability to appoint an un-elected assessor in a county where no qualified assessor has filed to run. UAC staff will now work with the assessors on draft proposal that can be presented to the broader membership and then we will be working to identify legislative sponsors to carry these bills.
The clerks want to address some election law issues, most importantly the costly and unhelpful newspaper notices that are required prior to an election date full of precinct numbers and addresses (the same information mailed directly to registered voters). Additional fixes to the election law will be proposed and consensus reached at the clerks’ Summer conference in June.
UAC staff will continue scheduling meetings with various affiliate groups to get a head start on our legislative agenda. If you have anything you would like to bring to our attention, please don’t hesitate to call. The sooner we can finalize our objectives, identify legislative sponsors, and draft language; the better off we’ll be.
Additionally, this week we also had the opportunity to meet with several county officials and Rep. Dan McCay regarding his desires to address issues in the centrally assessed new growth calculation. Those meetings were very productive and a few good concepts on how best to address his concern with the “hold-harmless” (not allowing for net-negative new growth) in the calculation were discussed. The next step on this item is to meet with the Tax Commission and pressure-test a few different concepts with actual numbers so that we can better understand the true impact of our theoretical discussions. As soon as we have numbers, we will do a detailed analysis of the various proposals and have associated revenue numbers to share with the membership. You should look for that information within the next few weeks.
Also related to centrally assessed, UAC staff continues to work closely with our centrally assessed appeal counsel on centrally assessed appeal determinations, and will have a full report for you next week on how we plan to move forward with appeals this year. Notifications of appeals are due to the Tax Commission by June 1. We have continued to keep the Legislature appraised of our efforts to be judicious in our appeal determinations, and have received very positive feedback from Sen. Bramble and others regarding our process and efforts that are taking place this year on appeals.
Lastly, the UAC staff also was asked to present at the Annual Utah Taxpayers Association “Taxes Now” conference to discuss our work with Rep. McCay and Senator Bramble on centrally assessed taxation issues. While the presentation was short, it was an effective way to discuss our work with several key lawmakers and stakeholders and stay in front of these issues, meeting the wishes of UAC leadership to be a thought-leader and key “player” on these important issues.