Commissioner of Taxes Kaj Samsom has released his December 1 education tax rate letter which forecasts the education tax yields for resident homeowners and the nonresidential tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2020. Using statutorily prescribed calculations, the Agency of Education, Department of Taxes, Department of Finance and Management, and Joint Fiscal Office collaborate to establish the yields and rate.
The forecasted FY20 homestead yield is $10,666 compared to $10,220 for FY19 (the current property tax year). The forecasted FY20 income yield is $13,104 compared to $12,380 for FY19. The statewide base nonresidential tax rate is forecast to be $1.58 in FY20, no change from the rate in FY19.
The average tax rate is forecast to remain constant for both homestead and nonresidential taxpayers, however level rates do not mean bills remain the same. Because of increased education spending, property value appreciation and income growth, the average bill across the state is forecast to increase by 1.52%, even as average rates stay the same as the prior year. Moreover, as in all years, changes in each district’s per pupil spending will result in very different property tax impacts across the state, even with a level average homestead rate.
The projected stability in both education property tax rates is driven by forecasted growth in revenue and the grand list and is based on an anticipated 3.24% increase in education spending statewide. Because of the projected equalized pupil count decrease of 738, average per pupil spending is forecast to increase by 4.1%.
Last year, the December 1 letter forecasted nearly 10-cents in property tax rate pressure with similar anticipated education spending growth. However, school boards held overall education spending growth to 1.7%. If districts once again limit the statewide spending increase to that same 1.7% this year, it would allow for 2.5% per pupil spending growth and still free up over $21 million, which could be used to both lower tax rates and make the crucial investment in early care and learning initiatives as called for by Governor Scott.
Additional resources for understanding education tax rates are available on the department’s website and from the Vermont school boards association.