Tax Revolt May Be On The Horizon

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Open Letter to County Assessor:

Well, here it is once more. I'm submitting my property valuation "appeal," although in the old days, it used to be called a "protest." How times have changed, when we have to grovel and wheedle and use your terms to describe highway robbery.

You have again raised my home value more than the cost of living, the increase in cost to rebuild this home, the rate of inflation and infinitely more than the DJI and my miserable pay increase. You didn't do this to business property, railroads, utilities, mines and farmers. But you did it to the constituency least able to fight you on this: the home-owning public.

In fact, you have valued my home $35,000 more than I paid for it four years ago. You will say that homes in my area sell for similar square-foot values. But, I'm not selling. And, apparently, not many others in my neighborhood are, since I had a hard time finding recent sales. Yet, you say I should pay taxes based on market value.

What you are doing is not only unfair, but dishonest. Market value is the highest value there is. Homes are the only properties that are valued by this method. Not only that, but you, Mr. Assessor, apply arbitrary "factors" that further increase these values. Homeowners have to pay the increased taxes you impose by forcing higher values.

Commercial buildings are valued at cost less depreciation. These owners can also ask for reduction for obsolescence, poor maintenance, or lack of functionality. They can claim economic problems, cost of doing business, accelerated depreciation and a host of other dodges to lower their taxes. And they can pass the cost of taxes on to their customers.

When is it going to end, Mr. Assessor? When you have killed this goose? Or when businesses don't pay property taxes any more? Put all properties on the same valuation system. The one that keeps everything fair: cost less depreciation. And let us deduct the parts of the home that aren't used, or used seasonally, or that just don't work well.

Otherwise, there's going to be a tax revolt like you won't believe.

Lee A. Prins, Strawberry

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