Can you feel it? It’s the time of the year when Jack Frost starts to nip at our nose and we all dream of what could be. No not the holidays silly. The lame duck legislative session. Every lame duck session is packed with action. Lets be honest, its a time in the legislature when issues that have been debated at length, but languished because they are tough votes tend to move. It’s part of the process. What lame duck shouldn’t be used for is ramming through major policy changes that have not had the benefit of debate and our best collective thinking. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening with personal property tax(PPT) reform.
Just to be clear, I am not in favor of the PPT. It’s a bad tax. It’s tough to administer and can be a disincentive to business investment. That said, the reality is the PPT provides critical funding to vital local services like police, fire, parks and the like and they are already drastically underfunded. This means any reform must provide guaranteed replacement revenue. The plan that is on the table attempts to provide replacement revenue but requires a statewide vote, potential local referendums, new levels of government,added bureaucracy, and the possibility of zero replacement revenue if votes fail. Oh by the way, at this point we only have a plan outline. We don’t even have bills to read. So what we have on the table is a plan with more questions than answers.
So my question is what’s the rush? If we all agree reform is necessary, why hurry such important tax policy changes without making it the best system we can? We have toiled for years under a cobbled together tax system and that hasn’t exactly been working out so well. There is too much at stake, and no reason to do this in the next two weeks. Let’s start a new trend and focus on getting it right, not just getting it done.