Several days ago, Andrew Toler proposed that changes be made on how the Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) affects a town's education property tax rate. Specifically, he suggested that the change in a town's CLA be capped at 3% from the previous year. If enacted, that would mean that large swings in the CLA, and hence the tax rate, would be kept to a dull roar.
While the legislature could pass such a change, capping the CLA (in effect a town's contribution to the Education Fund) would mean that all the other towns with stable CLAs would be shouldering the cost of the "capped" town. That's because the Ed Fund is finite - there is only so much to go around. If I pay less, someone else has to fill the hole. Further, capping the CLA would provide a disincentive for towns that have under valued real estate to reappraise. The idea behind the CLA, onerous as it is, is to get all towns to keep their grand lists as close to fair market value as possible.
However, note that each town's current CLA can be calculated by averaging over the previous three years. That calculation does not have the problems of the previous example because each town is not competing against other towns. The average is just for that town, and swings in the CLA average out over time.
People love the CLA after a reappraisal when it's above 100% because taxes go down, but say ..... when it drops as it has in Thetford and Norwich.
hope this helps some,
Rep. Jim Masland
Ways & Means Committee
Thetford Center, VT