The Tax Conference Committee met several times last week and reviewed topics of interest to education. They didn’t take any action on these provisions. Like all of the conference committees, they’re waiting for a leadership agreement to give them a spending target and direction before finalizing their bill. View the latest side-by-side on the issues.
Agricultural Production Land Tax Relief
The House is proposing a 50 percent agricultural credit for taxes paid by farmers on school bonds. Recent passage of some high profile school bonds in rural districts coupled with declining commodities prices have led farm groups to the Capitol seeking tax relief.
The Senate is proposing a much more modest property tax relief program for farmers, and others, that would focus one year of relief if property taxes jumped more than 8 percent. Without going into detail about the two proposals, we’ll just say they’re tens of millions of dollars apart in this area. If there’s a tax bill and if it has a decent enough spending target, it does appear they will come up with some kind of tax relief package for the farm community.
MREA played a major part in starting the consideration of an ag credit for school bond taxes with our Ag2School proposal, and MREA supports Ag tax credit for school bonds.
The House brought a package of reforms to tax conference committee aimed at supporting taxpayers in local government property tax processes. From the local government perspective, including school districts, these reforms would tie local officials’ hands in several ways. For schools, the most significant change proposed is that bond elections could only be held on general election dates. School groups are fighting this proposal.
The House has a student loan credit program that would provide a refundable tax credit depending on how much principal and interest a person paid and what their income level is. They estimate that 100,000 returns would see an average of $600 per person if this were enacted.