From Dr. Karen Gray:
I'd like to provide some background on what is actually going on with the CET. There was a misleading story that made it seem as if it is within my control as Superintendent to take action immediately. This is not the case even though we do wish to support the rebuilding and are working towards that at this time.
LCSD has been implementing SB 1036 the Construction Excise Tax since April 8, 2008. The law came about in 2007 as a way to provide funding for school districts to repair their facilities. Since we implement this law it must be done without exception. Representative David Gomberg has been doing research on this and we now provide the email he sent to the district. He is also a champion who is going to bat for the district and community so that we can get a ruling from the Legislature allowing for exceptions.
We would implement those changes retroactively for our community ravaged by fires. We are 100% for getting exceptions due to natural hazards and stand ready to do that but we cannot until we get legal permission to do so. The board cannot be asked to break the law even if other districts do so. They sincerely want to help in any way they can and they have done so. LCSD has done MANY things to help our community during this terrible time. From feeding so many people, allowing schools to act as Red Cross sites when needed, transporting people around the county, opening our schools for people to use showers and do laundry, educating kids at school that has been displaced by fire damaged or destroyed homes, and more. We love our community and want to help in any way we can. People can contact their legislators and others in Salem to make sure that they take up this issue as soon as possible. We want to help.
This is from Rep. Gomberg: As you may know, I have asked Legislative Counsel about the CET. What I have been able to confirm is that while school districts may impose a CET assessment on new residential construction, they must apply them “uniformly”. That means districts do not have the discretion to waive the tax in cases where replacement was due to the original home being destroyed or damaged by wildfires. Last week I submitted a request for legislation that would create an exemption for construction of replacement homes when the original was damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster that resulted in a declared disaster. The bill will be retroactive to January 2020. I’m hoping we can raise this issue in a possible November special legislative session. Otherwise, I will certainly introduce the bill when we convene in 2021.