Friday, July 27, 2001

Property tax given scrutiny

Lawmakers consider its future

By Mark R. Chellgren
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Property taxes, long a political football in Kentucky, could be in play again if the General Assembly takes up tax reform in 2002.

        This time, the debate might go beyond the issue of limitations imposed in the heat of a gubernatorial race 22 years ago.

        Sen. Dan Kelly wondered aloud Thursday whether the property tax generally has outlived its usefulness for state government.

        Mr. Kelly, the Senate Republican floor leader from Springfield, said the property tax is raising a smaller and smaller percentage of the state's General Fund while still expensive to assess and collect. “At some point, we may decide the property tax is not something we want to use in financing the state government and leave that to the local governments,” Mr. Kelly said.

        William Fox, a University of Tennessee consultant hired by the legislature's subcommittee on tax policy issues, said many states do not impose property taxes, though it is the primary revenue tool for most local governments.

        Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, chairman of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, said another topic of discussion should be whether to lift some of the restrictions on state government property tax receipts to put them in line with the rules local governments live by.

        State government receipts from taxes on real property — basically land and buildings — can grow no more than 4 percent annually in the aggregate. As property values have risen, this has meant that the tax rate on real property has fallen from 31.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation in 1979 to 13.6 cents this year.

        Local governments that impose property taxes can exclude property new to the tax rolls each year from the annual 4 percent ceiling calculation. In addition, local governments can exceed the 4 percent cap, but the new rate is then subject to local voter recall..

        The tax on real property raised about $187.8 million last fiscal year out of total property tax receipts of about $407 million.


Cop kills gunman in shootout
Olympic pitch well-received
Anesthesiologists in short supply
Rain brings more flooding to soggy Tristate
She can forgive, but can't forget
Bridge study may start early
Colerain man charged with abduction, assault
DeWine asks for more money for police overtime
Fund to aid mother's family
Tristate A.M. Report
UC told it can afford faculty raises
Local school committees to be trained
Merchants, residents grateful for patrols
More charges filed in saliva-throwing case
Task force to get 2nd prosecutor
RADEL: Fighting firing
Charges urged against operator
Man held in slaying, alleged rape
Miami-Talawanda partnership expected to benefit community
Non-Muslims welcome
10-year-old's flight canceled, but airline forgot to tell dad
New clinic will treat tiniest newborns
Projects with matching funds have better shot at Clean Ohio grants
Carnegie Arts Center more accessible
Democrat resigns party posts
Firehouse merger talks OK'd
Kenton, Boone to share police work
Kentucky News Briefs
Ky. mining commissioner dies
Lawyer: Barge firm free of blame in fatal crash
N.Ky. United Way chief: Giving should be a joy
- Property tax given scrutiny