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Journal of the House

________________

THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2008

Rep. Partridge of Windham in Chair.

At one o'clock in the afternoon the Speaker called the House to order.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Reverend Michael Fonner of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Montpelier, VT.

Committee Bill Introduced

H. 890

Rep. Sweaney of Windsor, for the committee on Government Operations, introduced a bill, entitled

An act relating to compensation for certain state employees;

Which was read the first time and, under the rule, placed on the Calendar for notice tomorrow.

Senate Bill Referred

S. 152

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to prevention of lead poisoning by exposure to lead in consumer products;

Was taken up, read the first time and referred to the committee on Human Services.

Bill Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

H. 876

     House bill, entitled

     An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the town of Middlebury;

     Appearing on the Calendar, affecting the revenue of the state, under the rule, was referred to the committee on Ways and Means.

Bill Referred to Committee on Appropriations

H. 889

House bill, entitled

An act relating to the state’s transportation program;

Appearing on the Calendar, carrying an appropriation, under rule 35a, was referred to the committee on Appropriations.

Rules Suspended; Bill Committed

H. 890

Pending entrance of the bill on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Rep. Sweaney of Windsor,  the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

An act relating to compensation for certain state employees;

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Pending second reading of the bill, on motion of Rep. Sweaney of Windsor, the bill was committed to the committee on Appropriations.

House Resolution Placed on Calendar

The Speaker placed before the House the following resolution which was read and in the Speaker’s discretion, placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow under Rule 52.

H.R. 31

House resolution urging the department of buildings and general services to switch off the state house illumination lighting during the worldwide Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29, 2008

Offered by:  Representatives Anderson of Montpelier, Courcelle of Rutland City, Deen of Westminster, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Klein of East Montpelier, Masland of Thetford, McCullough of Williston, McFaun of Barre Town, Nease of Johnson, O'Donnell of Vernon, Smith of Morristown and Zuckerman of Burlington

Whereas, the world’s nighttime lighting requires massive amounts of electrical generation, and electrical generation in many of its forms is dependent on the burning of fossil fuels, and

Whereas, in 2007, the World Wildlife Fund organized an unusual one-hour global warming awareness event in Sydney Australia during which, from 8 to 9 p.m., 2,000 businesses turned off their lights, making an extremely visible statement on energy conservation, and

Whereas, the success in alerting the residents of Sydney to the importance of conserving electricity as a way to have a positive impact on global warming has prompted the World Wildlife Fund to expand Earth Hour into an international event, and

Whereas, on Saturday evening, March 29, 2008, between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. local time, significant segments of the center city lighting systems in communities throughout the world, including the U.S. municipalities of Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Francisco, and the Canadian cities of Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto will turn off, and

Whereas, a primary objective of Earth Hour is to suspend the illumination of highly visible landmarks and among these will be the roofs of the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Bank of America Tower in Atlanta, and both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls, and

Whereas, many smaller communities are also participating in this symbolically important environmental and energy awareness exercise, and

Whereas, in Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, there is no question that the state house is by far the most symbolic structure located within the municipality’s boundaries, and

Whereas, a powerful set of floodlights brightly illuminates the state house every night, and turning these lights off during Earth Hour would serve as a bold statement of support without impacting public safety or any essential public services, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That this legislative body requests the commissioner of buildings and general services to turn off the floodlight illumination of the state house between 8 and 9 p.m. on Saturday evening, March 29, 2008 in observance of Earth Hour, and be it further

Resolved:  That the clerk of the house be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Commissioner of Buildings and General Services Gerry Myers in Montpelier.

Favorable Report; Third Reading Ordered

J.R.H. 52

Rep. O’Donnell of Vernon, for the committee on Health Care, to which had been referred Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution urging congress to enact legislation establishing an Office of the National Nurse;

Reported in favor of its passage.  The resolution, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time and third reading ordered.

Joint Resolutions Adopted

The Speaker placed before the House the following Joint resolutions, which were read and adopted on the part of the House.

J.R.H. 57

Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution relating to U.S. military veterans and traumatic brain injury;

J.R.H. 58

Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution authorizing the 2008 Green Mountain Boys’ State program use of the State House.

Consideration Interrupted by Recess

H. 888

House bill, entitled

An act relating to miscellaneous tax amendments;

Was taken up and pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Helm of Castleton moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By adding a new Sec. 41a. to read:

Sec. 41a.  32 V.S.A. § 3481 is amended to read:

(1) "Appraisal value" shall mean, with respect to property enrolled in a use value appraisal program, the use value appraisal as defined in subdivision 3752(12) of this title, multiplied by the common level of appraisal, and with respect to all other property, the estimated fair market value. The estimated fair market value of a property is the price which the property will bring in the market when offered for sale and purchased by another, taking into consideration all the elements of the availability of the property, its use both potential and prospective, any functional deficiencies, and all other elements such as age and condition which combine to give property a market value. Those elements shall include a consideration of a decrease in value in nonrental residential property due to a housing subsidy covenant as defined in section 610 of Title 27, or the effect of any state or local law or regulation affecting the use of land, including but not limited to chapter 151 of Title 10 or any land capability plan established in furtherance or implementation thereof, rules adopted by the state board of health and any local or regional zoning ordinances or development plans. In determining estimated fair market value, the sale price of the property in question is one element to consider, but is not solely determinative.

For residential rental property that is subject to a housing subsidy covenant or other legal restriction, imposed by a governmental, quasi-governmental, or public purpose entity, on rents that may be charged, fair market value shall be determined by an income approach using the following elements:

(A) market rents with utility allowance adjustments for the geographic area in which the property is located as determined by the federal office of Housing and Urban Development or in the case of properties authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 1437, 12 U.S.C. § 1701q, 42 U.S.C. § 1485, 12 U.S.C. § 1715z-1, 42 U.S.C. § 1437f, and 24 CFR Part 882 Subpart D and E, the higher of contract rents (meaning the amount of federal rental assistance plus any tenant contribution) and HUD market rents;

(B) actual expenses incurred with respect to the property which shall be provided by the property owner in a format acceptable to the commissioner and certified by an independent third party, such as a certified public accounting firm or public or quasi-public funding agency;

(C) a vacancy rate that is 50 percent of the market vacancy rate as determined by the United States Census Bureau with local review by the Vermont housing finance agency; and

(D) a capitalization rate that is typical for the geographic area determined and published annually prior to April 1 by the division of property valuation and review after consultation with the Vermont housing finance agency.

     Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Helm of Castleton?

Recess

At one o’clock and forty minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker declared a recess until the fall of the gavel.

At three o’clock and thirty-two minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker called the House to order.

Speaker Symington in Chair.

 

 

Consideration Resumed; Bill Amended;

Read the Third Time and Passed;

Rules Suspended and Bill Messaged to Senate Forthwith

H. 888

Consideration resumed on House bill, entitled

An act relating to miscellaneous tax amendments;

The recurring question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Helm of Castleton? was disagreed to.

Pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Pearson of Burlington moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By striking Sec. 21 of the bill and inserting new Secs. 21, 21a, 21b, 21c and 21d and subsection 42(12) to read:

Sec. 21.  32 V.S.A. § 5811(21)(B) is amended to read:

(B)  Decreased by the following items of income (to the extent such income is included in federal adjusted gross income):

(i)  income from United States government obligations; and

(ii)  40 percent of adjusted net capital gain income as defined in Section 1(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Sec. 21a.  32 V.S.A. § 435(b)(5) is amended to read:

(b) The general fund shall be composed of revenues from the following sources:

 (5) Individual  98.4 percent of the income taxes levied pursuant to chapter 151 of this title;

Sec. 21b.  16 V.S.A. § 4025(a)(8) is added to read:

(a) An education fund is established to be comprised of the following:

          (8)  0.8 percent of the revenues from income taxes levied pursuant to chapter 151 of this title.

Sec. 21c.  19 V.S.A. § 11(9) is added to read:

§ 11. TRANSPORTATION FUND

The transportation fund shall be comprised of the following:

          (9)  0.8 percent of the revenues from income taxes levied pursuant to chapter 151 of this title.

Sec. 21d.  APPROPRIATIONS

     There is appropriated in fiscal year 2009 from the general fund the sum of: $5.0 million to the department of education for state aid for school construction projects pursuant to section 3448 of Title 16; $5.0 million to the education fund; $5.0 million to the transportation fund; and $5.0 million to the agency of transportation for state aid to town highways, which amount shall be in addition to the appropriations required by 19 V.S.A. § 306, and which shall be distributed to towns in accordance with 19 V.S.A. § 306(a).

Sec. 42.  EFFECTIVE DATES

     (12)  Secs. 21a, 21b and 21c (allocation of income tax revenue to general fund, education fund and transportation fund) shall apply to fiscal years 2010 and after. 

and renumbering the remaining sections of the bill and internal references to be numerically correct.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Pearson of Burlington? Rep. Fisher of Lincoln moved to amend the recommendation of amendment offered by Rep. Pearson as follows:

By striking Sec. 21 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 21.  32 V.S.A. § 5811(21)(B) is amended to read:

(B)  Decreased by the following items of income (to the extent such income is included in federal adjusted gross income):

(i)  income from United States government obligations; and

(ii)  40 percent Up to $10,000.00 of adjusted net capital gain income as defined in Section 1(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Which was agreed to on a Division vote. Yeas, 47.  Nays, 37.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Pearson of Burlington, as amended? Rep. Komline of Dorset demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Pearson of Burlington, as amended?  was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 37.  Nays, 97.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Edwards of Brattleboro

Fisher of Lincoln

Flory of Pittsford

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Haas of Rochester

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Leriche of Hardwick

Lorber of Burlington

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marek of Newfane

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

McFaun of Barre Town

Milkey of Brattleboro

Minter of Waterbury

Moran of Wardsboro

Mrowicki of Putney

Nuovo of Middlebury

Orr of Charlotte

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Randall of Troy

Sharpe of Bristol

Spengler of Colchester

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Andrews of Rutland City

Baker of West Rutland

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Corcoran of Bennington

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Emmons of Springfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Frank of Underhill

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Grad of Moretown

Grenier of St. Johnsbury

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Helm of Castleton

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Hube of Londonderry

Hunt of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Johnson of Canaan

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kilmartin of Newport City

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Larson of Burlington

Lawrence of Lyndon

Lenes of Shelburne

Lewis of Derby

Lippert of Hinesburg

Livingston of Manchester

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McAllister of Highgate

Miller of Shaftsbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Ojibway of Hartford

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Peaslee of Guildhall

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Smith of Morristown

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Aswad of Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Courcelle of Rutland City

Crawford of Burke

Dostis of Waterbury

Howrigan of Fairfield

Klein of East Montpelier

Krawczyk of Bennington

LaVoie of Swanton

Marcotte of Coventry

McDonald of Berlin

McNeil of Rutland Town

Shand of Weathersfield

Trombley of Grand Isle

Weston of Burlington


 

     Pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Errecart of Shelburne moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By renumbering Sec. 42 of the bill as Sec. 43, and adding a new Sec. 42 and subsection 43(12) to read:

Sec. 42.  32 V.S.A. § 6067 is amended to read:

§ 6067.  CREDIT PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENT LIMITATIONS

(a)  Only one individual per household per taxable year shall be entitled to a benefit eligible for an adjustment under this chapter.

(b)  An individual who received a homestead exemption or adjustment with respect to property taxes assessed by another state for the taxable year shall not be entitled eligible to receive an adjustment under this chapter.

(c)  No taxpayer shall receive total adjustments under this chapter in excess of $8,000.00 related to any one property tax year.

(d)  A claimant shall not be eligible for a property tax adjustment under this chapter if, during the taxable year, all persons of the household while members of that household, other than persons who are age 62 or older or who are mentally or physically disabled, receive more than $50,000.00 of investment income. “Investment income” in this subsection means income which is not earned income as defined in section 911(d)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, including any of the following which are not pension income, qualified retirement plan income, or income received solely for the care of a mentally or physically disabled person or persons:

(1)  interest and dividends, including interest from, and dividends attributable to, Vermont state and local obligations and United States government obligations;

(2)  capital gain subject to Vermont personal income tax, without regard to any reduction under subdivision 5811(21)(B) of this title;

          (3)  distributions from any entity other than a trust, to the extent that the distribution is attributable to interest, dividends, or capital gain income described in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection;

          (4) distributions from any trust; and

          (5) gifts.

Sec. 43.  EFFECTIVE DATES

     (12)  Sec. 42 of this act (investment income cap for property tax adjustment eligibility) shall apply to claims filed in 2009 and after. 

and renumbering the sections of the bill and internal references to be numerically correct.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Errecart of Shelburne? Rep. Errecart of Shelburne demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Errecart of Shelburne?  was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 42.  Nays, 89.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Baker of West Rutland

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Clark of Vergennes

Clerkin of Hartford

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Flory of Pittsford

Grenier of St. Johnsbury

Helm of Castleton

Hube of Londonderry

Johnson of Canaan

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Lawrence of Lyndon

Lewis of Derby

Livingston of Manchester

McAllister of Highgate

McFaun of Barre Town

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

O'Donnell of Vernon

Oxholm of Vergennes

Peaslee of Guildhall

Scheuermann of Stowe

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Bissonnette of Winooski

Botzow of Pownal

Bray of New Haven

Browning of Arlington

Cheney of Norwich

Clarkson of Woodstock

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Grad of Moretown

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Howard of Rutland City

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larson of Burlington

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Morley of Barton

Mrowicki of Putney

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Otterman of Topsham

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Allard of St. Albans Town

Aswad of Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Courcelle of Rutland City

Crawford of Burke

Dostis of Waterbury

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howrigan of Fairfield

Klein of East Montpelier

Krawczyk of Bennington

LaVoie of Swanton

Marcotte of Coventry

McDonald of Berlin

McNeil of Rutland Town

Monti of Barre City

Shand of Weathersfield

Trombley of Grand Isle

Weston of Burlington


 

     Rep. Andrews of Rutland City explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I agree with the concept of this amendment.  Income sensitivity in property taxes is not intended to underwrite the wealthy.  But I agree with the committee that the details need much more work to avoid unintended consequences that  could be just as inequitable.”

     Pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Flory of Pittsford moved to amend the bill as follows:

by renumbering Sec. 42 of the bill as Sec. 43, and adding a new Sec. 42 and subsection 43(12) to read:

Sec. 42.  32 V.S.A. § 6066a is amended to read:

§ 6066a. Determination Payment of property tax adjustments

(a) Annually, the commissioner shall determine pay to each claimant the property tax adjustment amount under section 6066 of this title, related to a homestead owned by the claimant. The commissioner shall notify the municipality in which the housesite is located of the amount of the property tax adjustment for the claimant for homestead property tax liabilities, on July 1 for timely-filed claims and on September 15 for late claims filed by September 1. The commissioner shall mail the payment to the claimant on the day that the municipality in which the claimant resides mails its property tax bills or, for any claim properly filed less than thirty days before the municipality mails it property tax bills, the commissioner shall mail the payment to the claimant within forty-five days after the claim is filed; but no payment shall be mailed before July 1.  The tax adjustment of a claimant who was assessed property tax by a town which revised the dates of its fiscal year, however, is the excess of the property tax which was assessed in the last 12 months of the revised fiscal year, over the adjusted property tax of the claimant for the revised fiscal year as determined under section 6066 of this title, related to a homestead owned by the claimant.

(b) The commissioner shall include in the total property tax adjustment amount determined under subsection (a) of this section, for credit to the taxpayer for homestead property tax liabilities, any income tax overpayment remaining after allocation under section 3112 of this title and setoff under section 5934 of this title, which the taxpayer has directed to be used for payment of property taxes.

(c) The commissioner shall notify the municipality of any claim and refund amounts unresolved by September 15 at the time of final resolution, including adjudication if any.

(d) For late claims, filed after April 15, the property tax adjustment amount shall be reduced by $15.00, which shall be paid by the commissioner to the municipality for the cost of issuing a new property tax bill to the claimant.

(e) At the time of notice to the municipality, the commissioner shall notify the taxpayer of the property tax adjustment amount determined under subdivision 6066(a)(1) of this title; the amount determined under subdivision 6066(a)(3) of this title; any additional adjustment amounts due the homestead owner under section 6066 of this title; the amount of income tax refund, if any, allocated to payment of homestead property tax liabilities; and any late-claim reduction amount.

(f) Property tax bills.

(1) For amounts stated in the notice to towns on July 1, municipalities shall include on the homestead property tax bill notice to the taxpayer of the total amount allocated to payment of homestead property tax liabilities and notice of the balance due. By a majority of those voting at an annual or special meeting called for that purpose, the voters of a municipality may elect to apply the amount allocated under this chapter to current-year property taxes to the taxpayers' property tax installments in order or pro rata.

(2) For property tax adjustment amounts for which municipalities receive notice on or after September 15, municipalities shall issue a new homestead property tax bill with notice to the taxpayer of the total a mount allocated to payment of homestead property tax liabilities and notice of the balance due.

(3) The property tax adjustment amount determined for the taxpayer shall be allocated first to current-year property tax on the homestead parcel, next to current-year homestead parcel penalties and interest, next to any prior year homestead parcel penalties and interest, and last to any prior year property tax on the homestead parcel. No adjustment shall be allocated to a property tax liability for any year after the year for which the claim or refund allocation was filed. If the property tax adjustment amount exceeds the amount allocated under this subsection, the municipality shall refund the excess to the taxpayer, without interest, within 20 days of the first date upon which taxes become due and payable or 20 days after notification by the commissioner of education, whichever is later. No municipal tax-reduction incentive for early payment of taxes shall apply to any amount allocated to the property tax bill under this chapter.

(g) Annually, on August 1 and on September 15, the commissioner of taxes shall pay to each municipality the amount of property tax adjustment of which the municipality was notified on July 1 for the August 1 transfer, or September 15 for the September 15 transfer, related to municipal property tax on homesteads within that municipality, as determined by the commissioner of taxes.

 Sec. 43.  EFFECTIVE DATES

     (12)  Sec. 42 (cash payment of property tax adjustments) shall apply to claims filed in 2009 and after.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Flory of Pittsford? Rep. Komline of Dorset demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Flory of Pittsford?  was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 43.  Nays, 84.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Baker of West Rutland

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clark of Vergennes

Clerkin of Hartford

Corcoran of Bennington

Davis of Washington

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Errecart of Shelburne

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Flory of Pittsford

Grenier of St. Johnsbury

Helm of Castleton

Hube of Londonderry

Johnson of Canaan

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Lawrence of Lyndon

Lewis of Derby

Livingston of Manchester

McAllister of Highgate

McFaun of Barre Town

Morrissey of Bennington

O'Donnell of Vernon

Pearson of Burlington

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Randall of Troy

Scheuermann of Stowe

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Wright of Burlington

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Bissonnette of Winooski

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Browning of Arlington

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clarkson of Woodstock

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Deen of Westminster

Donahue of Northfield

Donovan of Burlington

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Howard of Rutland City

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larson of Burlington

Lenes of Shelburne

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Mrowicki of Putney

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Rodgers of Glover

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Winters of Williamstown

Zenie of Colchester


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Allard of St. Albans Town

Aswad of Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Courcelle of Rutland City

Crawford of Burke

Dostis of Waterbury

Grad of Moretown

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howrigan of Fairfield

Klein of East Montpelier

Krawczyk of Bennington

LaVoie of Swanton

Leriche of Hardwick

Marcotte of Coventry

McDonald of Berlin

McNeil of Rutland Town

Monti of Barre City

Morley of Barton

Shand of Weathersfield

Trombley of Grand Isle

Weston of Burlington


 

    

     Rep. Donahue of Northfield explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I voted against the statutory change two years ago, because beyond privacy, it was a hidden theft of taxpayer money in the year it was applied.  The privacy issue is a concern to many of my constituents, and I regret that we have not resolved it.  Unfortunately, I do not think reversing the statute this way is the solution”

     Rep. Komline of Dorset explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I vote yes because this amendment would protect Vermonters’ personal income information.  On 8/9/07, the Secretary of State issued a formally opinion which stated “We believe a town could reasonably take the position that the prebate information is not public since, by a simple calculation, this information can be used to determine an individual’s income level.”  On 9/10/07, the Vermont ACLU and the Vermont Association of CPA’s testified that property tax adjustment information can be used to easily determine a person’s household income.  I’m disappointed that the Ways and Means committee determined that the Secretary of State, the ACLU and the CPA Association are wrong.”

     Rep. Marek of Newfane explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     My constituents are happy that they are receiving honest property tax bills that finally show what they actually are paying. I voted to keep it that way.”

     Pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Clark of Vergennes moved to amend the bill as follows:

First:  By adding new Secs. 42 through 46 to read:

Sec. 42.  REDESIGNATION OF CHAPTER

     Chapter 154 of Title 32 (Homestead property tax income sensitivity adjustment) is redesignated “Renter rebate program,” effective January 1, 2009.

Sec. 43.  32 V.S.A. § 6066 is amended to read:

§ 6066.  COMPUTATION OF ADJUSTMENT

(a)  An eligible claimant who owned the homestead on April 1 of the year in which the claim is filed shall be entitled to an adjustment amount determined as follows:

(1)(A)  For a claimant with household income of $90,000.00 or more:

(i)  the statewide education tax rate, multiplied by the equalized value of the housesite in the taxable year;

(ii)  minus (if less) the sum of:

(I)  the applicable percentage of household income for the taxable year; plus

(II)  the statewide education tax rate, multiplied by the equalized value of the housesite in the taxable year in excess of $200,000.00.

(B)  For a claimant with household income of less than $90,000.00 but more than $47,000.00, the statewide education tax rate, multiplied by the equalized value of the housesite in the taxable year, minus the applicable percentage of household income for the taxable year.

(C)  For a claimant whose household income does not exceed $47,000.00, the statewide education tax rate, multiplied by the equalized value of the housesite in the taxable year, minus the lesser of:

(i)  the applicable percentage of household income for the taxable year; or

(ii)  the statewide education tax rate, multiplied by the equalized value of the housesite in the taxable year reduced by $15,000.00.

(D)  A claimant whose household income does not exceed $90,000.00 shall also be entitled to an additional adjustment amount under this section of $10.00 per acre, up to a maximum of five acres, for each additional acre of homestead property in excess of the two-acre housesite. The adjustment amount under this section shall be shown separately on the notice of property tax adjustment to the claimant.

(2)  “Applicable percentage” in this section means two percent, multiplied by the district spending adjustment under subdivision 5401(13) of this title for the property tax year which begins in the claim year for the municipality in which the homestead residence is located; but in no event shall the applicable percentage be less than two percent.

(3)  a claimant whose household income does not exceed $47,000.00 shall also be entitled to an additional adjustment amount equal to the amount by which the property taxes for the municipal fiscal year which began in the taxable year upon the claimant’s housesite, reduced by the adjustment amount determined under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, exceeds a percentage of the claimant’s household income for the taxable year as follows:

If household income (rounded to            then the taxpayer is     

the nearest dollar) is:                           entitled to

                                                                 credit for the reduced          

                                                                 property tax in

                                                                             excess of this percent of

                                                                            that income:

                   $0 - 9,999.00                                                       2.0

          $10,000.00 - 24,999.00                                                 4.5

          $25,000.00 - 47,000.00                                                 5.0

In no event shall the credit exceed the amount of the reduced property tax.

(b)  An eligible claimant who rented the homestead on the last day of the taxable year, whose household income does not exceed $47,000.00, and who submits a certificate of rent constituting property taxes shall be entitled to a credit against the claimant’s tax liability under chapter 151 of this title equal to the amount by which the rent constituting property taxes upon the claimant’s housesite exceeds a percentage of the claimant’s household income for the taxable year as follows:

If household income (rounded to               then the taxpayer is                      the nearest dollar) is:                                  entitled to credit for

                                                                 rent constituting property

                                                                             tax paid in excess of this

                                                                             percent of that income:

              $0.00 -  9,999.00                                                      2.0

          $10,000.00 - 24,999.00                                                 4.5

          $25,000.00 - 47,000.00                                                 5.0

In no event shall the credit exceed the amount of the rent constituting property tax.

(c)(b)  To be eligible for a property tax adjustment under this chapter the claimant:

(1)  must have been domiciled in this state during the entire taxable year; and

(2)  may not be a person claimed as a dependent by any taxpayer under the federal Internal Revenue Code during the taxable year.

(d)(c)  The owner of a mobile home which is sited on a lot not owned by the homeowner may include an amount determined under subdivision 6061(7) of this title as rent constituting property taxes paid on the lot with the amount of property taxes paid by the homeowner on the home for the purpose of computation of adjustments under subdivision (a)(3) of this section, unless the homeowner has included in the claim an amount of property tax on common land under the provisions of subsection (e) of this section.

(e)  Property taxes paid by a cooperative, not including a mobile home park cooperative, allocable to property used as a homestead, shall be attributable to the co-op member for the purpose of computation of adjustment of property tax liability of the co-op member under this section.  Property owned by a cooperative declared as a homestead may only include the homestead and a pro rata share of any common land owned or leased by the cooperative, not to exceed the two-acre housesite limitation.  The share of the cooperative’s assessed value attributable to the housesite shall be determined by the cooperative and specified annually in a notice to the co-op member.  Property taxes paid by a mobile home park cooperative, allocable to property used as a housesite, shall be attributed to the owner of the housesite for the purpose of computation of adjustment of property tax liability of the housesite owner under this section.  Property owned by the mobile home park cooperative and declared as a housesite may only include common property of the cooperative contiguous with at least one mobile home lot in the park, not to exceed the two-acre housesite limitation.  The share attributable to any mobile home lot shall be determined by the cooperative and specified in the cooperative agreement.

(f)  If a claimant takes title to the homestead during the calendar year preceding the claim, the parties’ proration of taxes shall be based upon the unadjusted property tax to the time of sale, unless the parties otherwise agree.

(g)  Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, if the land surrounding a homestead is owned by a nonprofit corporation or community land trust with tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the homeowner may include an allocated amount as property tax paid on the land with the amount of property taxes paid by the homeowner on the home for the purposes of computation of adjustment under this section.  The allocated amount shall be determined by the nonprofit corporation or community land trust on a proportional basis.  The nonprofit corporation or community land trust shall provide to that homeowner, by January 31, a certificate specifying the allocated amount.  The certificate shall indicate the proportion of total property tax on that parcel which was assessed for municipal property tax, for local share property tax and for statewide property tax.

(h)  State property tax reduction incentive. A homestead owner shall be entitled to an additional property tax adjustment amount equal to one percent of the amount of income tax refund which the claimant elects to allocate to payment of homestead property tax under section 6068 of this title.

Sec. 44.  REPEAL AND STATUTORY REVISION

     32 V.S.A. § 6066a (payment of property tax adjustments) is repealed, effective January 1, 2009.  The office of legislative council shall revise the statutes in chapter 154 of Title 32 to eliminate all homestead-owner income sensitivity provisions.

Sec. 45.  32 V.S.A. § 3802(17) is added to read:

(17)  The first $50,000.00 of listed value of a homestead as defined under subdivision 5401(7) of this title and declared on or before September 1 in accordance with section 5410 of this title, multiplied by the municipality’s most recent common level of appraisal.  This exemption shall not affect the grand list value; and shall reduce municipal and education property tax liabilities, but not below $0.00.

Sec. 46.  32 V.S.A. § 5402(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  A statewide education tax is imposed on all nonresidential and homestead property at the following rates:

(1)  the tax rate for nonresidential property shall be $1.59 per $100.00; and

(2)  the tax rate for homestead property shall be $1.10 multiplied by the district spending adjustment for the municipality, per $100.00, of equalized education property value as most recently determined under section 5405 of this title, minus any homestead exemption amount under subdivision 3802(17) of this title.  The homestead property tax rate for each municipality which is a member of a union or unified union school district shall be calculated as required under subsection (e) of this section. 

(b)  Calculation of education tax.

(1)  The commissioner of taxes shall determine for each municipality the education tax rates under subsection (a) of this section, divided by the municipality’s most recent common level of appraisal.  The legislative body in each municipality shall then bill each property taxpayer at the homestead or nonresidential rate determined by the commissioner under this subdivision, multiplied by the education property tax grand list value of the property, properly classified as homestead or nonresidential property and without regard to any other tax classification of the property, minus any homestead exemption amount under subdivision 3802(17) of this title.  Each homestead property tax bill shall include notice of the education spending per equalized pupil in the taxpayer’s district and its relation to the base education payment; and the effect of the education spending in the district upon the homestead tax rate and the applicable percentage for income sensitivity; and shall also include an insert supplied by the commissioner of taxes which explains the relationship of district education spending and the common level of appraisal to property tax rates.  Tax bills shall show the tax due and the calculation of the rate determined under subsection (a) of this section, divided by the municipality’s most recent common level of appraisal, multiplied by the current grand list value of the property to be taxed.  Each homestead property tax bill shall include a copy of the two page document attached to the May 11, 2007 memorandum from the speaker of the house to the commissioner of taxes, which shall be updated annually for each town by the commissioner of taxes.

(2)  Taxes assessed under this section shall be assessed and collected in the same manner as taxes assessed under chapter 133 of this title with no tax classification other than as homestead or nonresidential property.

(3)  If a district has not voted a budget by June 30, an interim homestead education tax shall be imposed at the base rate determined under subdivision (a)(2) of this section, divided by the municipality’s most recent common level of appraisal, but without regard to any district spending adjustment, and taking into account any homestead exemption amount under subdivision 3802(17) of this title.  Within 30 days after a budget is adopted and the deadline for reconsideration has passed, the commissioner shall determine the municipality’s homestead tax rate as required under subdivision (b)(1) of this subsection.

and by renumbering the existing Sec. 42 to be Sec. 47

Second:  In the new Sec. 47, by adding subdivision (12) to read:

(12)  Sec. 43 of this act (repeal of homeowner prebate and rebate calculation) shall apply to claims filed in 2009 and after, and Secs. 45 and 46 (replacing adjusted property tax bills with a $50,000 homestead exemption) shall apply to property tax bills for fiscal years 2010 and after. 

     Thereupon, Rep. Clark of Vergennes asked and was granted leave of the House to withdraw his amendment.

     Pending third reading of the bill Rep. Peterson of Williston moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By renumbering Sec. 42 of the bill as Sec. 43, and adding a new Sec. 42 to read: 

Sec. 42.  EXTENSION OF 2007 FILING DEADLINE FOR CERTAIN                                            PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENT CLAIMS

(a)  Any 2007 late-filed property tax adjustment claim which was denied before December 1, 2007, may be refiled before August 1, 2008, if all the following conditions are met:

          (i) the claimant submits a written request for reconsideration of claim, including all information required by the commissioner, in the form prescribed by the commissioner, signed by the claimant under pains and penalties of perjury; and

          (ii)  the first 2007 property tax bill issued in the claimant’s town was issued after September 4, 2007; and

     (iii)  the commissioner, in his judgment, finds that the claimant was unable to file the claim by September 4, 2007, as a result of sickness, absence, or other disability, or other good cause.

(b)  The commissioner’s determination to allow or deny a claim under this section shall be final, and the commissioner shall not notify the municipality of the claimant’s property tax adjustment, but instead shall refund the property tax adjustment amount to the claimant, without interest and without penalty under 32 V.S.A. § 6066a(d).

and renumbering the sections of the bill and internal references to be numerically correct.

     Which was agreed to.

     Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed.

     On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the Senate forthwith.

Message from the Senate No. 44

     A message was received from the Senate by Mr. Marshall, its Assistant Secretary, as follows:

Madam Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has on its part passed Senate bills of the following titles:

S. 229.  An act relating to access to public records.

S. 275.  An act relating to motor vehicles passing bicyclists on highways.

S. 297.  An act relating to clarifying the definition of “stiff hitch” in the motor vehicle statutes.

S. 304.  An act relating to a groundwater withdrawal permit program.

S. 311.  An act relating to the use value appraisal program.

S. 324.  An act relating to beer and wine tastings.

S. 344.  An act relating to internet and mail order sales of tobacco products.

S. 345.  An act relating to lowering the cost of workers’ compensation insurance.

S. 372.  An act relating to evictions, unpaid rent, and abandoned property in rental property.

In the passage of which the concurrence of the House is requested.

The Senate has considered bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 557.  An act relating to postponing the sunset of the Fish and Wildlife Board’s authority to adopt rules regulating the deer herd.

H. 788.  An act relating to awarding moose permits to Vermont veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.

And has passed the same in concurrence.

The Senate has on its part adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.S. 59.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

In the adoption of which the concurrence of the House is requested.

The Senate has considered a joint resolution originating in the House of the following title:

J.R.H. 56.  Joint resolution honoring municipal public works employees and designating May 18-24 as Public Works Week in Vermont.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Adjournment

At five o’clock and thirty-five minutes in the afternoon, on motion of Rep. Komline of Dorset, the House adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.

 

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
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Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us