Monday, March 16, 2009

Legislature Voting on Potential Property Tax Increase This Week!

In 1994, voters passed Proposal “A”. It increased sales taxes by 2%, significantly lowered property taxes, and provided a steady stream of income to K-12 public education. Since passage of Proposal “A”, enrollment has increased by 2%, inflation has gone up about 33%, but revenues to public schools have increased 99%! On top of that, local millages have caused school debt taxes to increase by 269%.

In spite of the increases, the public education lobby never seems to have enough funding. Since 2000, a bill has been proposed every two years to relax the restrictions on “sinking funds” as a way to raise additional cash.

This year is no exception. HB 4313 has been introduced, which would empower school districts to request five additional mills for any purpose using sinking funds.Under current law, a district’s sinking fund can only be used to help finance capital projects.If HB 4313 were passed, your property taxes could be increased to fund any item: social programs, administrative pay raises, new furniture, you name it.

This truly violates the intent of Proposal “A” whose purpose was to provide relief to homeowners from spiraling property taxes. HB 4313 would turn sinking funds into a virtual slush fund for school districts. It has been estimated that this bill could lead to over $3 billion in new property taxes on homeowners, district by district.

The bill has already cleared the Education committee and is likely to be voted in the House this week. Please contact your State Representative today and ask them to honor Proposal A by voting NO on HB 4313. Find your representative here.

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