The Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines to approve a state budget last night after adding $3.4 billion in assorted tax cuts. Included in the tax package was an increase in the WTCS Property Tax Relief Aid, totaling $29 million in 2021-22 and $43 million in 2022-23, on top of base-level funding of $406 million. The additional aid would have the effect of reducing taxes paid locally but does not provide additional resources to the colleges. The Committee’s earlier decision, providing $9 million in new funding to the colleges over two years, remains in place.
Also of interest to technical colleges, the Committee designated $200 million to be distributed to local units of government to reimburse lost revenue related to the repeal of personal property taxes. The Committee did not include language to repeal the tax, largely paid on equipment owned by businesses. As of this morning, SB-189, which would repeal the tax, has been scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday by the Senate Economic and Workforce Development Committee.
The state budget, as amended, now moves to the full Legislature for consideration. It generally takes approximately one week for legislative attorneys to finish drafting and compiling the substitute amendment. Once work to prepare the bill is complete, it is expected that the Assembly will take it up first, followed by the Senate, and finally, the Governor.