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Bill Could Raise Threshold For Automatic Taxpayer Refund

Some legislators want to change the automatic tax refund system and use the money for other programs.

A House committee made changes to a Senate bill Thursday dealing with the state’s automatic taxpayer refund trigger.

The current trigger for an automatic taxpayer refund is 10 percent of the state budget. That equals about $1.4 billion.  The Senate bill raises the trigger after this year to about $2 billion, which is about 15 percent of the state budget.

House Ways and Means committee chair Jeff Espich says he is open to the concept of raising the threshold.

“The Senate seems insistent that they want a little greater reserve and it’s hard to say that’s bad policy,” Espich says. “Saving money for the rainy day’s always good. So I guess I’m willing, if you will, to sort of concede that area.”

But Espich says 15 percent is too high. In his amendment, which passed a committee Thursday, the trigger is raised to 12 percent. The final details will be decided in conference committee later this session. But Espich says, no matter what, taxpayers need to have a refund this year.

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