In one of the more convoluted vote counts, the House last week passed House Bill 62, which will require county-wide property tax assessments in all three counties every five years. The vote was 29 yes, 3 no, 5 not voting and 4 absent. I would like to know the reasons those who voted no and those who chose not to vote had. I suppose they want the status quo in Delaware to continue, where property tax assements went stale by 50 years and wide disparities between school districts and counties arose.
House Bill 62 would mandate that properties be assessed every five years to reflect current fair market value. The reasoning, according to Rep. Wilson-Anton, is so that the state can be fairer in its taxation structure, ensuring that property owners finally have parity.
Some properties haven’t been reassessed since 1974 and Rep. Wilson-Anton explained that the state currently has no statue dictating the timeline for those reassessments, although there is a constitutional requirement to do so periodically.
In its 2020 landmark ruling, the Court of Chancery upheld that Delaware’s existing property tax system violated the Delaware Constitution. The case, brought forth by educational and civil rights advocates, drew much attention.
While at the time the court wasn’t definitive in its remedy, continuing litigation between parties resulted in agreement that the counties would undertake reassessment. The statewide reassessment process for New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties is estimated to be complete by 2025.
HB 62 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
|House Bill 62 – Requiring Property Value Reassessment Every 5 Years||Currrent Status – House Passed 29-3-5-4. Senate Housing & Land Use 5/11/23|
|House Sponsors – Wilson-Anton, Williams, Baumbach, Harris, Moore, Morrison, Romer||Senate Sponsors – Lockman, McBride, Sturgeon, Hoffner, Sokola, Townsend|
|House Yes Votes – Baumbach Bolden Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Harris Johnson Lambert Longhurst Matthews Minor-Brown Moore Morrison Neal Osienski Phillips Romer Schwartzkopf Williams Wilson-Anton // Dukes Gray Morris Short Spiegelman Vanderwende||Senate Yes Votes –|
|House No Votes – Postles, Collins, Yearick||Senate No Votes –|
|House Absents or Not Voting – (Not Voting) Briggs King, Ramone, Hensley, Hilovsky, Parker Selby (Absent) Lynn, Shupe, Smith, Heffernan||Senate Absent or Not Voting –|
“Currently, we have a situation where some are paying too much, some too little and others the correct amount,” said Rep. Wilson-Anton. “This bill brings parity to a problem of outdated property values and ensures inequitable county and school funding streams are finally addressed. Hopefully this bill will prevent future lawsuits, in which saves taxpayers money.”
“Enacting consistent and routine property reassessments will help us prevent Delaware from continuing the same funding disparities and racial inequities that have been a hallmark of our public education system for decades,” said Sen. Lockman, vice chair of the Senate Education Committee and vice chair of the Redding Consortium for Educational Equity. “Clear deadlines for counties to complete property reassessments also will ensure homeowners in our communities never again face the financial uncertainty that comes with the first countywide reassessment in 50 years.”
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