Looney: Plenty of Bills “Competing to Get Through a Narrowing Tunnel” as Session Nears Conclusion; Sharkey’s PILOT Reform Bill Likely Won’t Fly

With the close of the 2014 legislative session looming at midnight Wednesday state Senate Majority Leader Marty Looney says just like in every “short session”—three-month session held in even-numbered years—there is a great deal of business on the Senate and House calendars with very little time to get to it. Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey’s pet bill to reform the property tax system passed in the House will likely not pass the Senate as is.

Looney characterizes the final day of the session as a “narrowing tunnel” through which only a small fraction of the pending business will pass. He says that’s nothing new. “It’s typical of a short session when there are lots of things to do. Each bill is competing with others to be brought out.”

Speaker Sharkey’s bill on property tax reform that passed his chamber likely will not be passed by Senate Democrats, at least in its current form. The bill seeks to keep on the property tax rolls property purchased by most tax-exempt entities. Currently, such property is taken off the municipalities’ grand list and becomes tax exempt.

Several senators tell The Hanging Shad the bill is a “tough sell” in their chamber. Sen. Looney pointed out that it took some doing to even get Sharkey’s bill out of the Planning and Development Committee. “There is a reluctance [in the Senate] to tax nonprofits,” Looney said.