Olsen seeks tax relief
House Joint Resolution 1
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 7, 2007
House District 22 Representative Monte Olsen of Daniel is tackling property tax relief for homeowners during this year’s Wyoming Legislature.
Olsen is sponsoring House Joint Resolution 1 proposing to amend the Wyoming Constitution to make residential property an additional class of property for assessment of taxes. The bill would grant the legislature the ability to determine the total ad valorem tax for residential property, and to restrict increases in property taxes or assessments, create subclasses, and set assessment rates on subclasses.
Olsen’s House Bill 60, the homeowner’s tax credit bill, comes with a $5.3 million price tag and would apply to the property taxes imposed during the calendar year 2007. This bill would amend existing statute to allow for a state-funded tax credit for homeowners.
All four legislators that represent portions of Sublette County joined to sponsor House Bill 107, the county option homeowner’s tax credit. This legislation has been pushed by Sublette County Commisisioners for several years as a way for the county to provide tax relief to homeowners.
The bill would allow county commissions the option of providing this tax credit for “a person who occupies a specified homestead as his home and principal residence for a period of not less than one year prior to applying for the tax credit, is entitled to a property tax credit in the amount determined by the board of county commissioners.”
Sublette County Commissioner Bill Cramer is a big supporter of HB107.
“We need this authority from the state and it is such a simple solution to a problem here in Sublette County and would not harm any other county in the state,” Cramer said.
Cramer has asked homeowners in the county to sign onto a letter about the need for the homeowner’s tax credit. It is posted below. Signed copies should be dropped off at the Sublette County Clerk’s office. Cramer has pledged to make sure every letter gets to the legislature.
Letter in support of homeowner’s tax credit
To whom it may concern:
As a homeowner in Sublette County, Wyoming, I want you to know that due to impacts from natural gas production my taxes have increased dramatically over the last several years. This is due mostly to the supply of available housing and the huge demand for it. According to the Wyoming Housing Database Partnership semiannual report dated August 30, 2006,the average price of a home in Sublette County is $ 249,029, the second highest in the state. To me, my home's value is not any more today than when I moved into it several years ago.
My equity is tied up in the value of my home just as surely as the mineral industry's future revenue is tied up in reserves underground. The only difference is that I pay taxes on 9.5 percent of the value of my home EVERY year that I own it and the mineral industry pays tax on 100 percent of its production. I pay as long as I own my home. The mineral industry pays ONCE on its production and nothing on its reserves underground until they are produced and sold. After 20 years for example, I have paid on 190 percent of my home's value.
It is my understanding that there is a homestead exemption statute that allows a state funded reduction of my property taxes. I also understand that the state has not funded this exemption for several years.
Furthermore, I understand there has been a bill submitted during the legislative sessions over the past few years allowing for county funding of this homestead exemption at the option of the county commissioners in each county. I also understand that this bill holds harmless all other taxing entities within each county that would choose to avail itself of this option and would not affect the state's tax revenues at all. This bill allows for a local solution to a local problem with no effect on the state or other nonimpacted counties. Our county commissioners in Sublette County choose to use the mill levy to raise tax revenue. We do not have any optional one-cent sales tax levies and I believe this is a prudent decision on their part.
I urge you to support this homestead exemption option for counties who have the problem that Sublette County is having. For those counties that do not have a problem in the dramatically ever-increasing property values there is no remedy required.
Thank you for your time, and I hope you will understand what an important issue this is for us here in Sublette County as well as several other impacted counties. Please do the right thing and allow each county to solve this problem by passing this county funded homestead exemption.
Sublette County homeowner
[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS HERE]