Senator: Property tax reform is priority for Unicameral in 2019

December 27, 2018

ALBION - A key state legislator in the effort to curb property tax hikes says it remains the number-one issue lawmakers are hearing about ahead of the 2019 legislative session.

Senator Tom Briese of Albion says he’s open to suggestions that may lead to cutting taxes.

“I’ve thrown out various ideas and proposals, a good strategy to see what sticks,” Briese says, “and see what ideas and what concepts can gain some traction.”

Briese sponsored a bill last session that would have raised sales taxes to cut property taxes. It failed.

He says there is plenty of discussion behind-the-scenes to reach accord on property taxes early in the legislative session.

“There is more of a concerted effort this year to come to some sort of agreement ahead of time on proposals, concepts and ideas, but I’m not sure there’s been a meeting of the minds on a whole lot,” Briese says. “It may boil down to various ideas get thrown into the hopper and see what happens.”

Governor Pete Ricketts has talked of moving property taxes to a productivity base instead of being based on sales. Briese says he could support that, but it would not make much of a difference for many years.

“It doesn’t do anything about our general overreliance on property taxes,” Briese says. “We still are going to fund local government, K-12 education, with property taxes to the same degree we always have if we rely simply on these types of valuation adjustments.”

The 2019 session of the Unicameral will begin on January 9th.

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