A Senate committee got surprising news Wednesday at the end of a grueling day spent slogging through the details of the bill that sets education tax rates: A loophole in state law allows newly merged districts to jack up their spending without a corresponding boost in their taxes.
A representative of the Agency of Education told the Senate Finance Committee about the quirk in a 2010 school district merger statute.
“Seven or eight months ago, we realized it is possible for a new entity following the law strictly to increase its spending tremendously the first year,” said Brad James, finance manager for the agency.
“They can only increase their tax rates by 5 percent. So who pays? Everybody else in the state.”
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