Olsen report: House District 22, 2006 Budget Session
Photo courtesy State of Wyoming legislature website.
House Representative Monte Olsen sponsors 5 bills
January 10, 2006
(Daniel) Wyoming House Representative Monte Olsen, from Daniel, will be sponsoring five bills in the House District 22, 2006 Budget Session. Each legislator can sponsor up to five bills during a given budget session.
"During this legislative interim, many issues affecting House District 22 have arisen, or have been brought to my attention from constituents, advocacy groups, and other elected officials," said Olsen in a recent news release. "Property tax relief is, and will continue to be, one of my main priorities; it is a major challenge, but I will continue to seek solutions to this problem, which has become such a tremendous burden for countless citizens in our district."
Olsen said that immediate property tax relief can happen without the Wyoming Legislature’s involvement. Each board of county commissioners in Wyoming’s 23 counties holds can assess or not assess the full 12 mils of taxation allowed by law. "As a legislator, it is not my role to dictate the number of mils that will be assessed, locally, to meet the needs of individual counties. Each county’s elected commissioners must address this task," said Olsen.
Below are the bills Representative Olsen is sponsoring.
1. RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY—UNIFORMITY ASSESSMENT
This is a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would allow the legislature to create an additional class of property for assessment (we currently have 3 classes), and could restrict increases in property taxes or assessments. However, not only will this bill require 2/3 vote for introduction, it will require 2/3 vote for passage in each house, followed by a majority affirmation by the people of Wyoming at the next general election.
2. HOMEOWNER’S TAX CREDIT—A COUNTY OPTION
"It is my firm belief that we must allow our local government to have more control over its own local affairs," said Olsen. A Homeowner’s Tax Credit-County Option, whereby county commissioners would legally have the option to allow homeowner’s tax credits, would accomplish this goal regarding tax burdens. This tax credit would come directly from each county’s general fund and would hold our schools harmless. It would not require any county commission to be obliged to provide for this tax credit. It simply would allow local governments this individual option.
3. HOMEOWNER’S TAX CREDIT
This credit is currently in the statues, but has not been funded for at least two decades. Olsen proposes to fund it and to then apply it to property taxes to be imposed during the calendar year of 2006.
4. PROTECTION ORDER DURATION
This bill would allow the court system to determine the duration of a protection order in domestic assault cases, up to one year, and will also allow for either party to petition to amend this order.
5. IMPACT ASSISTANCE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
There are many communities in Wyoming that are being impacted because of the rapid pace of natural gas development. This bill would appropriate $100 million dollars for the biennium to help in addressing these needs; cities, towns, or counties requesting money would have to show that impact needs are a result of natural gas development. They, then, could apply for funds through the State Lands and Investment Board. This bill has a repeal provision, effective July 1, 2008.
Olsen has authored 11 drafts for review and consideration. "Of these 11, I have either determined that some drafts should not be filed in a budget session or that the particular bill will perchance require more work than our legislative time allows. One draft bill of critical interest to me addresses concerns raised by a recent U. S. Supreme Court decision (Kelo vs. City of New London) regarding the taking of private property for 'economic development.' I am pleased that our Agriculture Committee is moving forward with Committee Bill SF 26 to protect Wyoming from this most serious eminent domain issue."