This week the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee took up major tax reform with a five-hour meeting discussing an omnibus tax bill that that covers everything from income tax, to sales tax, and the potential of a Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax for alternative fuel cars.
The bill spans more than 150 pages and was covered in detail. There were several salient parts for counties:
- There was a discussion that stalled in regard to changing the timeline for providing the certified tax rate to entities. Concerns raised by counties and the tax commission sent the author back to the drawing board to see if something else could be done. This effort has been tried in the past with limited success, due to the already constrained time schedule that counties have to certify values and provide a certified rate. UAC will keep a watch on this one.
- Discussions were held, but more effort will be needed by all stakeholders on an effort to address a funding shortfall of the O/M costs for the homeless resource centers. The current proposal would create a partnership between the state, cities and counties to come up with the needed funding. This is being considered a “must pass” bill for 2018, but the mechanism for raising the funds is still in question. Yet another UAC is watching closely.
- Tweaks to the centrally assessed new growth bill from 2016 are coming back. Legislation was discussed to allow new growth to occur on a 5-year rolling-average instead of the “benchmark” value that was discussed in 2016. This will allow for some growth in key areas of the state (natural resource counties). We worked closely with the sponsor and the commission for this tweak in an effort to ensure that these counties aren’t devastated by the recent downturn in centrally assessed value. That bill passed out of committee and will be on the fast track during the 2018 Session.