Bill stalls to change process for property tax value objections



A bill to change the process for objecting to property tax valuations passed both the House and Senate — but stalled Wednesday when the House unanimously refused to agree with amendments made in the Senate.

Substitute House Bill 126, sponsored by state Rep. Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Twp., originally would have required school districts to pass a resolution before challenging a property tax valuation. It also would have required the districts to notify the affected property owners of the challenge.

But it was changed in committee to prohibit anyone from filing a property tax complaint with a county Board of Revision, unless that person or entity owns the property in question.

That would prevent school districts from challenging valuations on other properties, and schools could only file a response to an owner’s complaint if the school board passed a resolution to do so.

It would now also forbid a school district and a property owner from making a “private pay” agreement, in which the property owner pays the district not to challenge a valuation; but doesn’t prohibit a new valuation agreement if it’s reflected on the tax list.

The Senate approved the amended bill in December, but county auditors and other public officials who had previously supported the bill came out against the new version.

On Wednesday Merrin urged House members to vote against the amendments, which he said were “wholesale changes” to the bill’s intent.

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