Bill Drafted in Oregon
GroundSwell, March-April 2007]
Jeffery Smith, president of the Forum on Geonomics,
continues to raise awareness among legislators in Oregon, a state
that has adopted term-limits and thus has rapid turnover of elected
officials. He reports that as did three of the most recent four
sessions, 2007 also had a text for their consideration.
Rep. Kevin Cameron of Salem allowed us to present our text to
Legislative Council, whose job it is to put bills into legal
language, but failed to own the bill when it came back from LC as
the Public Investment Recovery Act (PIRA), LC #3478. The bill came
back to us the same day as a new self-imposed deadline for getting
numbers for bills, so we had no time to replace Cameron as our
sponsor (besides Smith was out-of-town at the Eastern Economic
Conference in New York City). Even a new enthusiast for geonomics,
rural Republican lawmaker John Dallum, backed away from the bill
that its original sponsor had abandoned, unsure of why Cameron got
cold feet. Hence the bill lies somewhere in legal limbo.
The property tax shift's only chance now is to become
incorporated into a new bill. There is a candidate bill for
amendment, HJR 45, which would left the lid on the property tax.
We're asking that legislators lift the lid on the land half of
The Public Investment Recovery Act said in its introduction:
"The state and local governments are obligated to
pay for roads, schools, public safety, water and sewer systems, and
other public services. These public investments increase the
locational value of land. This act allows government to recover a
portion of increases in land values attributable to public
Text of the PIRA bill is as follows:
Government may shift the present property tax off
buildings and improvements onto the true market value of land,
partially or completely, as long as four conditions are met:
- a majority of the voters in the initiating jurisdiction
approve the proposed shift of taxes;
- the proposed levy exempts the value of buildings and other
improvements, totally or partially;
- the revenue raised annually from a parcel of land is kept
lower than the annual rental value of the location; and
- the jurisdiction levying the land tax pays a dividend from
the raised revenue to the registered voters in that
jurisdiction; the amount of the dividend must be at least ninety
percent of the land levy paid by the most heavily taxed
landowner in the bottom quintile of landowners in the
Government may bill landowners and pay residents a dividend each
month instead of each year.
Government may shift from taxing both land and buildings to taxing
land alone in one year or phase in the shift over at most five
Qualified landowners may claim a deferment from the levy on land
for up to ten years or until sale of the land.
Landowners qualify by:
- (a) being at least sixty-five years old; or
- (b) being in the bottom quintile of landowners; or by
- (c) being liable for a land tax that is at least twenty percent
greater than their most recent property tax.
At the end of the deferment, the levying jurisdiction is allowed to
recover past due land taxes.
Landowners receiving deferments no longer qualify for receiving a
dividend from recovered locational values.