Date Requested:March 08, 2010
Time Requested:10:14 AM
Agency: State Tax Department
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
2009R2830 Comm. Sub. Eng. HB3110
CBD Subject: NATURAL RESOURCES POLICE OFFICERS
FUND(S)
General Revenue Fund
Sources of Revenue
General Fund
Legislation creates:
Neither Program nor Fund

Fiscal Note Summary

Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.

    The stated purpose of this bill is to rename conservation officers to be natural resources police officers.
    
    This bill, as written, renames conservation officers as natural police officers as indicated in the stated purpose. Passage of the bill may have other intended or unintended consequences. Passage of this bill may also provide an increased tax benefit to persons who retire as natural resource police officers. Currently, participants in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), such as conservation officers, are permitted a $2,000 Personal Income Tax decreasing modification under W. Va. Code §11-21-12(c)(5) for benefits received under PERS. The designation as natural resources police may qualify such retirees for a Personal Income Tax decreasing modification under W. Va. Code §11-21-12(c)(6) in an amount equal to all of their retirement income attributable to being a police officer. The bill does not clearly state that retirement pay of “natural resources police” would be exempt from Personal Income Tax or list a specific retirement plan as is the case for the decreasing modification for State police retirees, etc. The lack of clear direction in the bill would result in litigation to determine the extent of the decreasing modification available for “natural resources police”.
    
    If it is determined that “natural resources police” are allowed a decreasing modification for the total amount of retirement income received from the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System, passage of this bill would result in a reduction in the General Revenue Fund of roughly $150,000 per year.
    
    There would be no additional administrative costs for the State Tax Department associated with passage of this bill.

Fiscal Note Detail
Over-all effect
Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2010
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2011
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 0 0
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 0 0
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 -150,000 -150,000
3. Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):
    This bill, as written, renames conservation officers as natural police officers as indicated in the stated purpose. Passage of the bill may have other intended or unintended consequences. Passage of this bill may also provide an increased tax benefit to persons who retire as natural resource police officers. Currently, participants in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), such as conservation officers, are permitted a $2,000 Personal Income Tax decreasing modification under W. Va. Code §11-21-12(c)(5) for benefits received under PERS. The designation as natural resources police may qualify such retirees for a Personal Income Tax decreasing modification under W. Va. Code §11-21-12(c)(6) in an amount equal to all of their retirement income attributable to being a police officer. The bill does not clearly state that retirement pay of “natural resources police” would be exempt from Personal Income Tax or list a specific retirement plan as is the case for the decreasing modification for State police retirees, etc. The lack of clear direction in the bill would result in litigation to determine the extent of the decreasing modification available for “natural resources police”.
    
    If it is determined that “natural resources police” are allowed a decreasing modification for the total amount of retirement income received from the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System, passage of this bill would result in a reduction in the General Revenue Fund of roughly $150,000 per year.
    
    The bill provides that after June 30, 2010 all full-time law enforcement officers employed by the Division of Natural Resources are to be titled as natural resources police officers. The provisions of this bill may apply to an estimated 90 public sector retirees. However, other similarly situated retirees may seek the same special tax status.
    
    There would be no additional administrative costs for the State Tax Department associated with passage of this bill.
    


Memorandum
Person submitting Fiscal Note:
Mark Muchow
Email Address:
kerri.r.petry@wv.gov
    The stated purpose of this bill is to rename conservation officers to be natural resources police officers.
    
    While this bill, as written, renames conservation officers as natural police officers as indicated in the stated purpose, passage of the bill may have other intended or unintended consequences. Passage of this bill may also provide an increased tax benefit to persons who retire as natural resource police officers. Currently, participants in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), such as conservation officers, are permitted a $2,000 Personal Income Tax decreasing modification via W. Va. Code §11-21-12(c)(5) for benefits received under PERS. The designation as natural resources police may qualify such retirees for a Personal Income Tax decreasing modification via W. Va. Code §11-21-12(c)(6) in an amount equal to all of their retirement income attributable to being a police officer. It is unclear if the potential increased retirement income benefit was intended or not. It is unclear if the provisions of this bill would actually result in a reclassification of pensions to the more lucrative tax exclusion absent additional litigation. Additionally, it is unclear if the additional retirement benefit would be available to those persons who retired as conservation officers before the renaming as natural resources police officers.