Tax Relief

Editorial: Simplify tax relief | Editorial

We’d rather keep things simple if state leaders prefer providing property tax relief through tax credits rather than state aid.

They’re aren’t now. We have one direct property tax credit — one that lowers the gross tax bill property owners get each December — and a state income tax credit for part of the property tax request from their K-12 school district.

If that isn’t confusing enough, the legislature now is considering a second such income tax credit, this one tied to community college property taxes.

We still think that makes property tax relief tough if not impossible to recognize. But state Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil has offered a reason for the complexity.

During Friday debate on a larger tax reform bill, Murman observed that the tax-credit approach means K-12 schools — and now maybe community colleges — still collect the full amount of property taxes they requested through their budgets.

“We’re not taking anything from them,” he said. “We’re just keeping them funded and returning what we can to the property taxpayer.”

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OK, then. That’s more of an explanation than we’ve heard to date.

But why deliver tax relief two ways when one would be simpler?

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