Amendments to Property Tax Bill (H.887) - April 23, 2024

The House Ways & Means Committee met first thing on Tuesday morning to begin reviewing proposed amendments to H.887, which sets the property tax rates for FY2025.

Kornheiser Amendment

The first amendment contained technical corrections was proposed by Chairwoman Kornheiser. The previous language surrounding the excess spending exemption for bonding was open ended and would allow future bonds to be exempt. The new language in the amendment would only provide an exemption for bonds in place prior to July 1st, 2024. There were also a number of effective date changes to better align various components of the bill. One of the timing changes would allow the 2025 December letter to include an estimate of the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) for the following year.

The Committee voted 11-0-1 in favor.

Sibilia Amendment

Representative Sibilia was next to offer an amendment that would add a definition of state-directed spending and add an estimate of state-directed spending in the December letter from the Tax Commissioner. The “Legislature short-changes ourselves in taking responsibility for the situation in which we find ourselves” with property taxes, she stated.

Representative Sims agreed that she hopes to get to a place in the future of having “more clarity” about where spending is coming from. Kornheiser noted that as much as they want a “bright line” between district and state spending, she argued that there wasn’t.

The Committee voted against the amendment.

Representative Ode was sympathetic and thought this should be discussed by the Commission on the Future of Education. “I don’t think the Legislature knows when they are voting on something that it will impact school boards,” she stated.

Toleno Amendment

Representative Toleno offered an amendment to reset the State Board of Education (SBE) and the leadership position in the Agency of Education. The amendment would make the SBE more independent and less political by not having the Agency report to the Governor. The Committee members seemed supportive, but Kornheiser noted that they had not “taken any testimony on this whatsoever.”

The committee voted 10-2 against the amendment.

Beck Amendment

Representative Beck offered his amendment to the Committee. The amendment would direct the Treasurer to study moving the normal cost and administrative expenses for active teachers who are members of the State Teachers’ Retirement System into school district budgets instead of paying them out of the Education Fund at the state level.

He noted that each district is making different staffing decisions, but “the cost of our employee isn’t just salary and health care.” He believes this would create transparency about what the actual costs are. Kornheiser noted that this could be part of the Task Force’s purview. Representative Anthony argued that this is not within the expertise of the Task Force and this is perhaps one thing that should not be given to them.

The Committee voted 6-6-2 against the amendment.

Carpenter Amendment

Representative Carpenter was next to offer an amendment which would prevent districts from closing a school and choosing to tuition students to a school of their choice. Instead, the amendment would force a district to designate three schools for students to attend if they do choose to close.

While there was sympathy for the topic, the Committee did not find the amendment favorable.

Harrison Amendment

Representative Harrison framed his amendment as a cost-containment mechanism to head off double digit increases in spending by reverting to the allowable growth rate for two years. This concept was pulled out of the original draft of H.887 because to was too restrictive for low-spending districts. Instead, the Committee had opted for an excess spending penalty which effectively only impacted the very highest spending districts.

The Committee found the amendment unfavorable 8-3-1.

Toof Amendment

Representative Toof offered an amendment to sunset the cloud tax and the short-term rental taxes that were included in the bill on July 1, 2025. He described those measures as “just providing a cushion” instead of creating a structural reform. There was some interest in sunsetting the taxes, but the Committee ultimately did not support signaling that a sunset was too restrictive on future legislators.

The Committee found the amendment unfavorable 8-3-1.

Holcombe Amendment

Representative Holcombe presented an amendment to address variable costs from weighting does not exist for districts that tuition. There is no differential cost for tuition districts based on anything other than grade level. She argued that this was a technical fix. Kornheiser, who sat on the Weighting Task Force, called the proposal a “huge shift at this hour” without extensive modeling. The study authors never flagged this as an issue, even though they discussed weighting for non-operating districts. The Committee was interested in investigating further and perhaps addressing this when the bill comes back from the Senate.

The Committee found the amendment unfavorable 10-1-1.

Shaw Amendment

Representative Shaw was last to offer an amendment Tuesday morning. His amendment would remove the short-term rental surcharge because “we would be the leader” in lodging taxes in the country. He worried they could inadvertently impact visiting nurses and other contractors that support critical services in our state (like state government). Instead, he suggested a surcharge on rooms & meals, online gambling, or cannabis sales.

The Committee found the amendment unfavorable 8-3-1.

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Donate Volunteer Reduce Property Tax Burden


get updates