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Education Committee backs GPA increase to offset property tax hike
The Education Committee on Monday voted to recommend the state increase General Purpose Aid in the next biennium to reduce a proposed property tax hike to pay for public education, with Democrats supporting an additional $51 million and Republicans $25 million.
The state biennial budget as proposed by the administration increased GPA by $20 million, but the cost of education is going up by $68 million in 2015-2016. That left $48 million to be picked up by local property taxpayers through a proposed education mill rate of 8.48 – the highest rate since the current school funding formula was enacted.
“We feel strongly that the mill rate is too high,” said Sen. Brian Langley, R-Hancock, the chairman of the committee. Republicans on the committee are backing a $25 million increase over what was proposed in the governor’s budget.
Democrats proposed a $51 million hike – an amount that would essentially keep the mill rate flat with this year at 8.1 mills and increase the state share of public education by 1 percentage point. Under the governor’s proposed budget, state share drops to just over 46 percent.
The Education Committee’s budget recommendations will be presented to the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. That committee is then charged with making recommendations on the entire biennial budget to the full Legislature.
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