The House has passed SB 2, the property tax reform bill. House sponsor Rep. Dustin Burrows emphasized that SB 2 does not provide an actual reduction of taxes, rather, it seeks to slow tax growth by requiring voter approval of tax increases by most local government entities if the increase would raise more than 3.5% in revenue over the previous year (current law triggers an election at 8%; in the House bill, community colleges and hospitals were left at the 8% level). As it passed the House, SB 2 is made contingent on passage of HB 3, the school finance reform bill.

The mechanism for actually lowering taxes is included in HB 3. The current leadership plan is to pay for this reduction in part through an increase in the state sales tax. Legislation to increase the sales tax is pending in a House committee.

Major differences between the House and Senate on this issue are expected to result in conference committee negotiations on SB 2. The connections between HB 1 (the state budget), SB 2 (property tax reform), HB 3 (school finance/teacher salaries) and HJR 3/HB 4621 (sales tax increase) add a layer of complexity to already complex issues.