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Governor Approves Revenue Enhancement Bills

Governor Kenneth E. Mapp has advised Senate President Myron Jackson of the actions he has taken on five legislative bills, including key elements of the revised Revenue Enhancement and Economic Recovery Act.

The Governor has approved Bill No. 32-0007, which establishes a minimum baseline property tax of $360.00 after application of exemptions and credits.  The bill also defines “commercial real property” for purposes of assessment.

Governor Mapp also signed into law the sections of Bill No. 32-0005 which increase taxes on alcoholic beverages, other sugary carbonated beverages, cigarettes, and imposes an Environment/Infrastructure Impact Fee on owners of timeshare units.  While noting that the Legislature reduced the amounts to be levied, the Governor, nevertheless, commended lawmakers for their courage and understanding of the need for additional revenues.

He vetoed a section of the bill, however, which would have denied Economic Development benefits or tax breaks to developers of timeshare properties which had previously been hotels or other multi-use facilities.  He stated that the measure would destroy new timeshare development.  Also vetoed was a section of the bill which sought to impose additional austerity measures on the Executive Branch, but which the Governor believes would hamper the delivery of vital services and possibly violate the separation of powers doctrine.

In explaining his veto of Bill No. 32-0018, Governor Mapp said it places undue burdens on the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, which would be required to act on certain applications within a limited time period.  The agencies would not have sufficient time to ensure compliance with requirements of law, he stated

The bill also would have removed the Governor from the application process for Economic Development benefits.  Mr. Mapp points out that the current law requires that the Governor explain in detail any disapproval of benefits.  He cautions the Legislature against removing him from the process, or risk signaling to beneficiaries that they need not comply fully with the benefit contracts they execute.

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