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The House Ways & Means Committee Introduced the Following Committee Bills

(At the meeting on March 8, 2017)

Local Government Fiscal Responsibility – HB 7063 
(House Ways & Means Committee)
Staff Analysis

Local Government Fiscal Transparency- HB 7065 
(House Ways & Means Committee) Staff Analysis


Brief Summary of the Bills:

Local Government Fiscal Responsibility – HB 7063 (House Ways & Means Committee)

  • Local governments, except schools, cannot adopt millage over the rolled-back rate unless they spend down “excess unencumbered fund balances” in special revenue funds below 10% for that fiscal year. In effect, this prohibits property tax increases unless excess fund balances are spent down.
  • Prohibits cities and counties (exempts schools) from enacting, extending or increasing local option taxes other than property taxes, if they had adopted a millage rate in excess of the rolled-back rate (with certain specified exceptions) in any of the three previous years.
  • Requires any local option or property tax (including special districts) that currently require voter approval to be on a state general election ballot with a 60% threshold for passage.
    • For example- CST, local business tax, local option surtaxes, TDT, public service tax, gas taxes.
  • Requires that a school capital outlay resolution must be approved by a 4/5 vote of the school board to place the question on the ballot for voter approval.
     
  • Requires voter approval for any new tax-supported debt (beyond 5 years) and must be on a state general election ballot with a 60% threshold for passage.
    • This does not apply to debt that is secured solely by the revenues generated by the project that is financed with the debt.
    • An exception is allowed in the case of an emergency as defined by ch. 252 -Emergency Management. The governing board, by a 4/5 vote, can authorize a vote at an election other than the general election, while still requiring 60% voter approval and the proceeds only being used for a purpose directly related said emergency.
  • Effective October 1, 2018

 

Local Government Fiscal Transparency- HB 7065 (House Ways & Means Committee)
  • Requires additional public meetings and public notice requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes, and new, long-term tax-supported debt.
  • Requires additional information on website such as voting records for tax increases and issuance of tax-supported debt, history of millage rates and levies, etc.
  • Requires local governments to conduct and consider debt affordability analysis prior to approving new, long-term tax-supported debt that includes calculating a debt affordability ratio.
    • The debt affordability ratio is the annual debt service for outstanding tax-supported debt divided by total annual revenues available to pay debt service on outstanding debt.
  • Requires auditor to report whether the local government is complying these new provisions and sets a timeline for response/corrective action to the Auditor General.
  • Effective July 1, 2017