Commission Begins Work on Solutions for Evaluating Utility Property Tax
Utility property tax reform update
The study commission created by House Bill 324 (HB 324) has begun looking at the current problems with evaluating utility property tax and will propose recommendations in its November final report for legislation to ensure utility property value is assessed in a fair and consistent manner.
Utilities, assessors, DRA, the ASB, legislators and municipalities will have input in the process and be part of the final recommendation for legislation. Thank you to our members who have voiced their support for utility property tax reform – this progress would not have been possible without you.
While we’ve made great strides, our work isn’t done yet. We’ll need the help and support of our members once the commission makes its recommendations. Sign Up to voice your support.
Why is utility property tax reform needed?
Over a six-year period, the Co-op has experienced a nearly 70% increase in the municipal property taxes we pay because a number of towns where we do business increased their assessments of the value of our property by enormous amounts. As a result of these increases, property taxes now account for 11% of the Co-op’s distribution costs. These property tax costs must be passed through to you the members.
Because the tax bills from all towns where we do business are lumped together in our rates, all Co-op members pay a share of the taxes for all towns, including those that impose huge, unreasonable increases in how they value our property. This makes power more expensive for everyone. We don’t believe that’s fair, and we don’t believe its good energy or tax policy.
The Co-op is part of a statewide utility coalition working to make changes that would bring fairness and consistency to the utility property assessing process.
Huge increases in some towns’ property taxes are impacting your bill. See how many towns are unjustly assessing NHEC real estate!
Why is the HB 324 Utility Valuation Commission important?
Currently, municipalities use different methods to assess the value of utility property in their towns. As a result, the tax assessments placed on similar property can differ greatly from one town to another. For example, a transformer assessed at $100 in one town could be assessed at $300 in the next town over.
Because utility rates include a share of the taxes from all towns where we do business, all Co-op members end up paying when some towns over assess the value of our property, even if they don’t live in those towns.
The current process encourages some municipalities to drive up utility property valuations because they know the ultimate burden will be shared by residents in other towns, through higher electric rates. That ends up increasing electric costs for everyone, which is bad energy policy as well as bad tax policy.
HB 324 created a commission to study utility property taxation; over the next two months, the commission will develop recommendations for new legislation to ensure consistent and reasonable property taxes.
But the work isn’t done yet. We’ll need the help and support of our members once the commission makes its recommendations in the fall. Sign Up to voice your support.
UTILITY PROPERTY TAX REFORM IN THE NEWS