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Bill would help mill towns with school aid

A governor’s bill, L.D. 1699, is being considered by the Legislature to help mill towns experiencing a loss in valuation because of a mill downsizing to recoup some state aid for their schools.

It would distribute just over $900,000 in reserve funds to towns that meet the following criteria.

Beginning with the 2016 state valuation, if a municipality’s most recently certified state valuation declines in an amount greater than 4.5% from the next most recently certified state valuation and that decline is due to the loss in value attributable to a single taxpayer (like a mill) that community’s valuation will be based on the last three years and the valuation representing the 4.5 percent or more loss. By adding in the year of the loss, the district would be eligible for more state aid for schools.

The bill stipulates the money would be coming from savings in debt service for school construction that the Department of Education has identified.  There would be no change in the ED 279s most recently released i.e. it would not trigger a redistribution of General Purpose Aid.

As of this writing, the House and the Senate are at odds on whether the bill should change law going forward or be in effect for only one year to allow the Legislature to give the proposal a more thorough review next year, including a public hearing.

MSMA will update members on the bill’s status as it works its way through the process.

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