Counties Ask for Time to Analyze Property Tax Credit’s Impact Prior to Expansion

On March 8th, Kevin Kinnally submitted written testimony in opposition to SB 816 Property Tax Credit – Surviving Spouse of Veteran.

This bill would expand the scope of a 2016 property tax credit.  Due to it being fairly new, this expansion raises questions about county authority to limit the credit to the recipients receiving it now. SB 816 also creates an expectation that counties may extend the scope of the credit, when the expansion offered under this bill could prove infeasible for any county to administer from a technical or a fiscal standpoint.

From the MACo Testimony:

Chapter 498 of 2016 authorized local governments to grant, by local law, a property tax credit for a dwelling owned by an individual who is at least 65 years old and has lived in the same dwelling for at least the preceding 40 years. Chapter 184 of 2017 altered the eligibility criteria by specifying that eligible individuals must be members of the uniformed services of the United States as defined by 10 U.S.C. Section 101, the military reserves, or the National Guard. Chapters 309 and 310 of 2018 altered the eligibility criteria once again by adding the surviving spouse of the retired service member as an eligible recipient of the property tax credit.

For the most part, interest in the 2016 tax credit far exceeded initial projections. With more residents making use of the credit than initially anticipated, the impact of the reduction in property tax income under the initial credit is still being explored by county governments. It is clear, however, that they simply could not afford to expand its eligibility at this point in time.

Counties request that they receive more time to administer this credit as-is and analyze its impacts before further expanding the nature and scope of this tax credit.