State Budget Proposal Supports Two-Year Delay In Property Revaluation
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 Feb 6, 2014
Governor Dan Malloy’s budget proposal to the General Assembly on Thursday calls for up to a two-year delay on the implementation of property revaluation, good news for Mayor Bill Finch and city bean counters that were facing a massive hike in the city’s mil rate. Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey has been cold to a reval delay, but it’s unlikely Malloy would have included the delay in his budget proposal without a signal from Sharkey that he’ll support it. The proposed budget allows for a local option for all municipalities to delay.
The city’s putting on a push in this new state legislative session in a last-ditch effort to postpone reval through gubernatorial and legislative approval. A delay in reval will also extend into the mayor’s reelection cycle next year avoiding a major hike in the mil rate. Even with a delay in reval the mayor’s not looking at a pretty budget picture the next two years. Federal money that paid for 30 or so public safety officers under Barack Obama’s stimulus plan has run out, forcing the city to pick up that tab starting this year.
City officials want to delay reval for several reasons including anticipation of tax revenue for development projects such as the Steel Point redevelopment area coming on line. Some of the higher-taxed neighborhoods such as Black Rock and North End could absorb the reval blow. Implementing reval could also juice motor vehicles taxes, scare away businesses fearing a higher mil rate as well as put some fragile businesses over the edge. The city’s current mil rate is 41.855, among the highest in the state. Without a delay in reval the city was heading for the highest mil rate in the state.
Connecticut law requires all real estate to be revalued for assessment purposes every five years to bring about uniformity in property values and ensuring everyone pays their fair share, or so it goes. Your property tax bill is a function of your assessment based on 70 percent of value. In this economy property values have sunk so as a general rule the mil rate approved by the City Council will spike to make up for the reduced assessments in order to fund the budget proposed by the mayor. A lot of this depends on the spending plan the mayor submits. Finch will now submit his proposed spending plan to the City Council the first week of April contingent upon a delay in reval.
Opponents to delaying reval, including the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, claim it’s poor public policy to put it off. The more frequently reval takes place, the organization maintains, the more accurate and fair tax assessments will be. Opponents also say delaying reval is nothing more than kicking the can down the road in an attempt to hide budget problems.
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