So, last night, the State House finally passed a Property Tax Reform bill and sent it on to the Guv. As I understand it, starting in 2007, the state will take $1B in money that will, it's assumed, be generated by slots and use it to give a large number of senior citizens a break on their school property taxes. It appears that these breaks will come in the form of rebates. Again, as I understand it, the bill ups the income limit for seniors who would be eligible for these rebates to $35K, thereby upping the number of seniors eligible for the rebate. I believe the bill also increases the amount of the rebate from $500 to $650. Bottom line, seniors benefit first. Then, once the slots money REALLY starts rolling in, the rest of us may get a break, too.
Whatever. I own property, and I'm not convinced I'll EVER see any benefits from this bill. I reckon that by the time I would be eligible for any of these alleged rebates, whatever money I'd save there will probably be offset by an increase in my county taxes, which I'm sure will go up once the commissioners finally pull the trigger on reassessment. Plus, judging by what some state reps were saying last night, don't be surprised if the state sales tax gets raised in the not too distant future. That idea didn't fly this time, but I'm sure it will be brought up again. Maybe it's just me being my normal, cynical self, but I'm not betting a lot on this tax reform business.
On a related note, I was kind of confused by the way the AP reported the story last night. Unless I'm mistaken, the bill the State House passed is the exact same bill that it DID NOT pass about six-weeks ago! HERE is the history of HB 39. You'll see that the House and Senate could not agree on a plan so, in March, they got a conference committee together. In early May, that committee came up with the plan referred to above. In early May, the Senate passed it. The House was supposed to do it, too, but it never came up for a vote because some reps thought it was unfair. Now, six-weeks later, I gather that not so many feel it's unfair - or at least not so unfair that they can't vote for it.
Anyway, my point is that when the AP reported the story last night, the articles mentioned the conference committee and the senate passage, but NEVER said that all that happened six-weeks ago! The AP made it sound like it could have happened six-hours ago or something. Weird.