The Senate revenue cap bill, S.B. 2, is awaiting a Senate vote. The bill caps city property tax revenue at a punitively low 2.5 percent. Every city is now affected by the bill. As it emerged from committee, it is no longer “bracketed” to larger cities. Even the small cities formerly exempt from the bill must hold an election in May 2020 to see if their citizens want the cap. (Any doubts on how such elections will turn out, given that cities can’t legally make their case to voters?)
City officials should call their senators now and explain the effects of a 2.5 percent cap. It doesn’t matter if your senator might otherwise be comfortable with some modest reduction from eight percent. The 2.5 percent figure is so low that every senator ought to have concerns about how it would affect public safety and infrastructure.
Now is also the time to engage representatives in the House. It is possible that the House version of the revenue cap, H.B. 2, could be heard soon in the House Ways and Means Committee. City officials with representatives on that committee should call them right away and urge them to vote no on 2.5 percent.
City officials without a representative on that committee should visit with their representative anyway—it’s not too soon to discuss the effects of H.B. 2’s harmful cap. Both bills contain many beneficial provisions, so the message isn’t that the bills shouldn’t pass. As one senator recently put it, the problem with both bills is just 2.5 percent.