To: Representative or Senator
The conference committee's 38-page compromise bill,
S-2412 ("An Act
relative to educational opportunity for students"), on which you will
now vote includes a subtle threat to, if not eventual circumvention of,
the voters' Proposition 2½.
This needless intrusion was included as an amendment in the original
Senate version of the education finance reform bill. It was eliminated
in the subsequent House version. It has been reinserted in this
conference committee take-it-or-leave-it compromise.
Section 21 directs: "Not later than December 1, 2020, the division of
local services within the department of revenue and the department of
elementary and secondary education shall file a report ... The report
shall include, but not be limited to:"
Section 21 (b)(vi) mandates within that report "an analysis of the
impact of Proposition 2½ on the ability of municipalities to make their
required local contributions in the short-term and long-term and
recommendations to mitigate the constraints of Proposition 2½."
Citizens for Limited Taxation has previously pointed out, there is no
need to "mitigate the constraints of Proposition 2½." The intentional
"constraints" created by our law in 1980 were "mitigated" by CLT within
our law, built into it during its drafting and in its adoption by
voters. That mitigation it provides are operational and debt exclusion
voters within a municipality are convinced that their city or town needs
more of their money, for any purpose, they can vote to increase their
taxes and those of their neighbors to fund that need. This "mitigation"
has worked remarkably well over the past 39 years during which
Proposition 2½ has been the law.
The potential further "mitigation" of a longstanding property tax
limitation statute created and adopted directly by the people themselves
does not belong in this bill.
Unfortunately there appears to be no mechanism to amend a conference
committee bill. Instead you are confronted with an all-or-nothing vote
on a bill determined by a mere six select members among the two chambers
of the Legislature.
we are left with recognizing that, for whatever reason, a vote for
passage of this bill will be the first step toward a potential erosion
of property tax limitation. Members voting in the affirmative will be
accountable for all results initiated by their vote on this bill — both
good and bad, intended and unintended.
Thank you for your attention.