Large SDAT Cost Shift Hits Counties Hard

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in support with amendments of House Bill 305, “Homestead Property Tax Credit Program – Eligibility Awareness”, before the House Ways and Means Committee on February 6, 2018.

Notifying eligible recipients of the Homestead Property Tax Credit through individual mailings is supported without issue by local governments and counties, and the bill tasks the State Department of Assessment and Taxation with reaching out to those eligible.

However, support for HB305 from counties is contingent on the removal of a cost shift to counties of 90% of SDAT’s operations of its property assessments, information technology, and Office of the Director that was included in the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) of 2018.

From MACo Testimony:

Counties have no means of control or authority over how SDAT manages its operations or spends its budget. The fiscal note for HB 305 provides a reasonable estimate of costs – about $150,000 – to implement. However, counties have no method by which to hold SDAT accountable for performing these tasks within a budget close to that amount. Nor can counties control whether SDAT or the Administration funds implementation of this bill through its Tax Credit Division, as seems most appropriate, or its Real Property Assessments Division, one of those divisions the Governor proposes counties fund almost in its entirety.

The Governor’s proposed SDAT cost shift will lead to a lack of government accountability which endangers the wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.