Legislative Alerts

Legislative Alerts - Legislative Priorities 

April 16, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018 3:35:00 PM

The following SCAC Legislative Priorities have passed one chamber of the General Assembly. With only 12 legislative days left, now is the time to contact House and Senate members and ask for their support in getting these priorities passed!

Lot Cleanup Legislation — H. 3896

This bill allows a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of this bill. The bill passed in the House.

H. 3896 is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please contact your senators and ask that the bill be reported out of committee as soon as possible.

Capital Projects Sales Tax for Economic Development — S. 889

S. 889 amends the Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST) statute to allow a CPST to be imposed for land purchases, infrastructure, and site development involved in economic development. This legislation has passed the Senate and is in the Ways and Means Committee.

S. 889 is in the Ways and Means Committee. Please contact your House members and ask S.889 be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) — S. 793

This legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the effected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify effected counties of a taxpayer’s written protest of a property tax assessment or a protest of a property tax exemption denial. S. 793 further requires DOR to notify the counties affected by a claim for refund by notifying the chief executive officer, auditor, assessor, and treasurer of each effected county. Finally, the bill limits any refund to the three tax years immediately preceding the departmental determination, unless the Administrative Law Court approves the refund.

S.793 is in the Ways and Means Committee. Please contact your House members and ask S.793 be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Watercraft Taxation — H. 4715

This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

This bill is in the Senate Fish Game and Forestry Committee. Please contact your senators and ask the bill be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Electronic Liens — H. 3684

This bill would permit the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. This bill received third reading in the House. It will likely be referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Please contact your senators and ask that H. 3684 be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Legislative Alert - Lot Cleanup Legislation: Contact House Members for Support! 

April 5, 2018
Thursday, April 5, 2018 11:47:00 AM
Lot Cleanup Legislation Up for Third Reading

H. 3896, which gives counties the authority to clean up nuisance property and recuperate the cost from the negligent property owner, received second reading in the House yesterday. There is an individual House member planning to argue against the bill on third reading. Please contact your House members immediately and ask them to support this important legislation! H. 3896 will be up for third reading very shortly. Please call, text, and email as soon as possible because this is very time sensitive.

Legislative Alert - March 15, 2018 

Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:18:00 PM
Lot Cleanup Legislation Reaches Full Senate

The Senate Judiciary Committee took up S. 833, the lot cleanup bill, on Wednesday and gave it a favorable report as amended by a vote of 13-7. As amended by the Committee, S. 833 allows a county the option to pass an ordinance requiring owners of a lot or property in the county to keep that lot or property clean and free of rubbish, debris, and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance.

A county must notify a lot owner of the conditions that need correction and may require that the owner take action as necessary to correct the conditions. The ordinance may also provide the terms and conditions under which the county may go onto the property to correct the conditions and recover the cleanup costs.

An action may not be brought by a county solely for aesthetic conditions.

Several of the members who voted against the bill expressed concerns over the potential for government overreach. Municipalities already have the authority to address nuisance property in the manner provided for in S. 833 and have utilized it for the benefit of their constituents.

This legislation simply gives counties the same tools as cities to handle unhealthy properties.
 
S. 833 will be taken up on the Senate floor next week.
 
Please let your senator know how important this legislation is to your county!

Legislative Alert - June 5, 2017 

Posted by Anna Berger Monday, June 5, 2017 9:45:00 AM Categories: LGF

LGF County Allocation Estimates

The House and Senate Budget Conferees have completed their work on the FY 17-18 budget. SCAC received the confirmed spreadsheet late Friday. The conference committee increased the Local Government Fund base funding level by $10 million and adopted the House proposal for funding government employer pension increases. This appropriation pays for the full 2 percent state government employer increase and 1 percent of the local government employers increase.

Together this represents a $44 million recurring increase for local government.

Although SCAC would have preferred the Senate pension proposal, the total amount of state-shared recurring revenue appropriated by the conference committee far exceeds the dollar amount requested in SCAC’s policy position. More than 7 percent of the state’s general fund recurring increase went to county government this year.

Additionally, the conference committee adopted the FEMA match allocation of $68 million for Hurricane Matthew and $5 million for the 2014 Winter Storm Local Matching Funds.

Almost 60 percent of FEMA match money will go to local governments.

These allocations can only be viewed as a major victory for county government, especially in light of the enormous fiscal pressure the General Assembly was under this year. This result is a direct reflection of the hard work, emails, and phone calls made by county officials. Every county official should congratulate themselves on a job well done.

The members of the budget conference committee were Senators Leatherman, Bennett, and Setzler and Representatives White, Pitts, and Stavrinakis. Please take the time to thank every member of the conference committee for the work they put in for state government, local government, and your and their constituents.

Also call your Senate and House members, thank them, and ask that they support the conference report on the budget when it is proposed on Tuesday, June 6.

A spreadsheet showing the Local Government Fund County Estimates for FY 17-18 as passed by the Conference Committee is available here. Please contact SCAC staff with any questions you may have at 1-800-922-6081.

Legislative Alert - May 19, 2017 

Friday, May 19, 2017 10:55:00 AM Categories: LGF

If the LGF is ever going to be increased significantly, YOU must contact your members of the General Assembly NOW. The budget conference committee is stalled on which plan to agree on to fund the local government fund. The House funded 1 percent of the mandated pension plan increase for all non-state PEBA entities. The Senate instead allocated money directly to local governments allowing the governing bodies to determine how to spend their allocation. This includes a $34 million increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF). Not only does the Senate’s distribution to the LGF allow counties to better meet the demands of mandated services, it also clearly supports the notion of home rule, allowing the county governing body to decide how to best allocate its resources.

Now is the time to contact your House and Senate members and let them know that the conference committee must adopt the Senate version of the LGF. The conference committee members will be returning next week to make a decision on the LGF, so this weekend is the absolute best time for your state delegation members to relay this message to the conference committee members. Counties have fought for an increase in the LGF for nearly a decade, which underscores the necessity to make these contacts now. We are at the goal line with this increase. It is up to the county officials to push it into the end zone.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TODAY AND ASK THAT THEY RELAY TO THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ADOPTING THE SENATE VERSION OF THE LGF.

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR YOUR DELEGATION MEMBERS’ CONTACT INFORMATION.

Legislative Alert - April 19, 2017 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 2:22:00 PM Categories: LGF
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ABOUT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND

The budget adopted by the Senate includes a $33,692,568 recurring increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF).

This increase was created by taking the House allocation of $33 million to cover 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase, and appropriating that money to the LGF.

Please Note: In addition to protecting local government employers, the House appropriation sends money to non-profits and federal employers.

By directing the money to the LGF, the Senate plan successfully covers more of the required increase for county and city governments, and therefore saves property taxpayers more money!

Ask BOTH your House AND Senate member to support the Senate version because it ensures more money going back to county government, saving the taxpayers from massive property tax increases!

Important update: Cities are calling and supporting the House version. Many legislators are saying they haven’t heard from their county. County officials must call if our taxpayers are to receive this important relief.

Senate member phone numbers and email addresses can be found here.

House member phone numbers and email addresses can be found here.

Legislative Alert - April 11, 2017 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 11:34:00 AM Categories: LGF
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ABOUT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND

TELL THEM: TOGETHER LET’S PROTECT THE COUNTY TAXPAYERS

The budget adopted by the Senate includes a $33,692,568 recurring increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF).

This increase was created by taking the House allocation of $33 million to cover 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase, and appropriating that money to the LGF.

Although the House plan to cover 1 percent of the employers’ retirement system increase was good, the Senate plan is even better. In addition to protecting local government employers, the House appropriation sends money to non-profits and federal employers. By directing the money to the LGF, the Senate plan successfully covers more of the required increase for county and city governments, and therefore saves property taxpayers more money!

It is important to note that the LGF is, first and foremost, property tax relief. Because local taxpayers are being required to shore up the state retirement system, putting this money into the LGF is a smart method of protecting county taxpayers.

The General Assembly is on furlough this week and should be available at home.

Please contact your House member and thank them for the effort they made to cover 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase. Thank your Senator for helping protect the taxpayers of your county.

Ask BOTH your House member AND Senate member to support the Senate version because it ensures more money going back to county government, saving the taxpayers from massive property tax increases!