Senate Committee Considers Revenue Caps
On March 25, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Matters heard two revenue cap bills (S.B. 102 and S.B. 144) that would restrict the ability of a city council to govern its own fiscal affairs.
S.B. 102 (Patrick) would lower the property tax rollback rate from eight percent to five percent, and would require a mandatory ratification election of the citizens before the city could exceed the lowered rollback rate.
S.B. 144 (Williams) would lower the rollback rate from eight to five percent, and allow the council to raise it back to eight percent during certain disasters or upon a finding that a higher rollback rate is necessary to protect health or safety.
Over a dozen city officials attended the hearing to testify against the bills, highlighting numerous problems including the negative impact the bills would have on economic development, bond ratings, and on local control in general. City witnesses correctly pointed out that not only are city officials equally as concerned with keeping property taxes low as members of the state legislature, but that they are in a much better position to determine the appropriate amount of property taxes needed to respond to the needs of their citizens.
The two bills were left pending in the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Matters. To view the public testimony on the bill, click here and fast forward to 33 minutes and 10 seconds into the hearing.