Before the Legislature decides how to handle the current imbalance in property taxes caused by the Amax Magnesium decision, there will be plenty of compromises, according to Tom Ellison, an attorney with the law firm of Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy.
Speaking to the Utah Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office parks in Little America, Ellison said that until a day or two ago the Legislature was leaning toward a proposal that would have increased commercial property taxes 14 percent.But now, he said, there are other proposals being made that would reduce the burden to 5 percent. In any event, he said, there will be many proposals made before the issue is settled before the session ends.
Last summer, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that Amax property was assessed at 100 percent of its value, while property assessed by counties was improperly assessed at 80 percent of value.
Ellison said the Legislature wants any law it passes to be tax neutral so some of the property tax burden will be shifted. He presented some charts which showed that if homes are assessed at 65 percent of their value, commercial property will see a 14 percent increase in property taxes.
If homes are assessed at 70 percent of their value, the tax shift to commercial property will be 10.5 percent, he said.
Also speaking on the property tax issue was Rep. Jerrold S. Jensen, R-Salt Lake, who said several alternatives are being considered, but a final decision won't come for several days. He said legislators don't want to put a burden on business, but in some counties property taxes could increase "quite a bit."