Passage of SB 619-624 eliminates tax capture for libraries unless the tax capture has a bond or debt. The intent of these bills is clear. The legislature wants libraries to be exempt from tax capture. The bills now go to the Governor for his signature.
For more than two decades, MLA and the library community have been fighting for a voice in the use of specially dedicated library millages by tax capture authorities Downtown Development Authorities (DDA), Tax Increment Finance Authorities (TIFA) and others. These entities capture a portion of library millages for use on their own projects often against the libraries' choice and without the locally voting taxpayer's knowledge or approval. When proposed special library millages disclose the required tax capture allocation, the millages are often defeated.
Passage of SB 619-624 by both the House last night and Senate earlier this year is a huge step in our efforts to regain control over those tax dollars.
Librarians and library supporters joined MLA and GCSI lobbyists as we successfully educated legislators about library funding and the impact tax capture has on the library. The efforts of MLA legislative committee; Lance Werner, Tammy Turgeon and Larry Neal who testified in Senate and House committees; and the many librarians who contacted their elected officials; played a huge role in moving these bills forward.
Last night our GCSI lobbyists Gary Owen and Chris Iannuzzi did a remarkable job for us averting amendments while convincing legislators that it was time to step up and support dedicated library funding.
Throughout the process a number of groups sought to defeat the bills. Others simply wanted to get additional special millages included in the package. Amendments were added in the Senate and in the House that included the concurrence of the chief executive officer (usually the mayor) for certain city libraries before the library can be exempted from the tax capture.
Once these bills are signed by the Governor, they take immediate effect. MLA will provide more information and details. The bills as written do not require an opt out in most cases but they do allow for an opt in for libraries.