As state tax collections and projected revenues are on the rise, Sen. John Braun has proposed utilizing $1 billion of the state’s unexpected revenue to smooth next year’s transition to the new education-funding system lawmakers adopted in June.
The Legislature’s overhaul of the K-12 funding system for the state slated a tax increase of 81 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value next year.
“Creating an equitable and long-term education funding system for our state required a great deal of compromise,” Braun, R-Centralia said. “Anything more than a short-term property-tax increase necessary to transition between funding systems was not my preferred method. Ultimately, a one-year increase was necessary to reach an agreement across the aisle.”
Once the reforms are completely phased in, it’s estimated more than 70 percent of state taxpayers would see a net property tax decrease between 2019 and 2021, according to a press release from Braun’s office.
Braun serves as the chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the education funding negotiating team.
The state government issues quarterly, four-year revenue projections each year. Braun has suggested using 75 percent of the unexpected revenue growth, or the amount that exceeds the June 2017 forecast, over the next four years to reduce the impacts of the rate increase next year. The offset to the state property tax would be capped at $1 billion.
“With the Legislature having already passed a budget that balances for the next four years, this would provide us with an opportunity to fully fund state government while reducing the impact on working families and people with fixed incomes,” Braun said.
Under the state’s new education funding system, beginning in 2019 a school district’s local levy will be limited to a maximum of $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value up to $2,500 per student.
The number of people who would receive property tax relief could grow higher than the estimated 70 percent if their local school districts only used a portion or none of their allowable levy.
Once this year’s education-funding reforms are phased in, districts will receive the same or more in state funding alone than they currently take from the state and local taxes combined, according to the release.