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Vermont Democrats plan bill to reimburse municipalities for property tax revenue lost to floods

 A residential street filled with brown water with a u-haul in it.
Peter Hirschfeld
/
Vermont Public File
The aftermath of the July flooding on Second Street in Barre City.

Home and business owners across Vermont are asking towns for tax abatements due to property damage suffered during the summer floods.

When the value of a property is reduced due to a fire or flood, municipalities can provide tax abatements that acknowledge the loss of value. Those abatements mean less property tax revenue for the statewide education fund.

And under normal circumstances, towns and cities have to offset those losses with their own municipal funds.

But Democratic Washington County Senator Ann Cummings says lawmakers will try to pass legislation next year to reimburse towns for those losses.

“They don’t feel the pressure that they’re going to be raising their personal tax rates and the rates of all of their neighbors if they abate property," Cummings says.

Brattleboro Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, also a Democrat, says abatements due to the summer floods will likely result in $1 to $2 million in foregone revenue for the education fund.

“And we want to make sure that municipalities know that they will not be responsible for the education portion of that tax if and when they abate," she said.

Lawmakers say the state can use reserves to make up those losses.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or contact reporter Peter Hirschfeld:

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The Vermont Statehouse is often called the people’s house. I am your eyes and ears there. I keep a close eye on how legislation could affect your life; I also regularly speak to the people who write that legislation.
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