Monday, July 30, 2007

Utah Taxpayer To Discuss Property Taxes

Utah Taxpayer has teased us with a discussion on "Truth in Taxation", and whether we need a Proposition 13 in Utah.

I look forward to the next two weeks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Beware of bloggers who weave...a web of deception

Brad Gillman's article is now up on the Standard Examiner. Take a look! It provides a good overview of the mixed bag that is, 'the blog'. I am surprised about how many of my quotes made it into the article.

Thank you Brad for the interesting read.

Friday, July 27, 2007

An Open Letter To The Davis County Commission

I'm concerned about the recent notice informing us of a proposed 49.5% increase in the county budget. Of course, this follows a tax increase implemented by a lame-duck commission last December. My question is why is the current commission taking its marching orders, by increasing spending, from a body of people that no longer convene? The move of the former commission was so unpopular with the public that there were only two out of a dozen people that spoke in favor of the tax at the hearing.

It could be said of Commissioner Milburn, that he had a mandate to act to keep spending low, considering how smartly he beat the incumbent, Mr. McConkie, while campaigning on the issue of low taxes. It seems, however, that he is more interested in passing accountability onto the citizenry when he says that tax hearings are "an opportunity for the residents to do their own prioritization."

I would hope that this newly elected body would begin their public service more modestly, and restrict spending. Note, we, in the south part of the county recently received our new property assessments and found that the value of our homes have increased greatly. Our personal budgetary concerns are high enough without the new high watermark set by an increase in this years budget. What will be required in taxes from us in future years if we ratchet up our spending now?

Let me remind you that the former body of commissioners have no authority to mandate how you spend our taxes. They acted contrary to the will of the people in raising taxes, and you would be remiss to ignore us now.

Tyler Farrer

Property Taxes: Four Points Of Pain

There are four principles at play here with our property taxes that ought to be addressed.

First, most of the south end of Davis County had their assessed property values go up this year. For me, I'll pay $300 more dollars than last. Many will pay more than that. I think it's only fair to be taxed on the correct value of your home. That's a real number, and the fact that so many got reassessed just goes to show the good work that our County Assessor is doing.

This brings me to point two. There is only so much money more than the previous years budget that the county is allowed to take in. This means that with the many reassessments that happened, and home values increasing, the county is going to have to lower the county portion of the tax rate. But the solution to this problem is intrinsically unfair to the individual, while it is balanced in the favor of the larger population. Let's say that half the county had their home values increase and now pay more. When the rates are lowered, the half whose home values stay the same will have a disproportionate amount of money flowing back their way. $100 of my dollars, for example, could flow into the bank of someone, let's call him Joe, who did not earn that $100. Now next year, hypothetically, my home is not reassessed at a higher value and Joe's $100 flows back to me. There are some who would say that both Joe and I profited in the exchange!

When money travels via government channels there is no such thing as a profit, only plunder! Bastiat called it "legalized plunder". It is the taking of money from one who earned it to give to another that did not earn it.

Point three is that, last December, the retiring county commission voted to increase taxes by 32%. As their terms expired they spread a myth that because actual dollars flowing into the coffers of the county from a tax increase is less than the dollars coming in from county growth that the tax was small! They said that the tax increase was insignificant!

The tax increase was a 32% increase, and that is statistically significant no matter how you fudge the numbers!

Point four is that what naturally flows from a tax increase, with extra dollars flooding in, is an increase in expenditures. This new commission intends to vote to increase spending by 49.5%. This spending increase, plus the tax increase, is a slap in the face to those of us who are now paying on more valuable properties than last year. It is an affront to those who just purchased a home in the county for the first time this year when the housing market was hot! It's offensive to those whose home assessments increase by 250% this year(as happened to my brother). It will prevent people from moving here that would otherwise, and it will give incentives for others to leave the county.

It has been pointed out to me that Davis County is second in our senior citizen population only to Washington County. This means that there is a high number of seniors on fixed incomes that will have to rely upon the government if the county increases spending. We can let these folks pay for themselves by keeping their taxes low, or we can push them into the open arms of the government.

Just don't tell me that they will profit by it, as the county did last December!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dealing With Growth In Government

I'm not endorsing Rudy for President--In fact, this is not the venue for a discussion of a Federal office. I'm fully behind someone else, in truth. (Note: comments to this post about Presidential politics, unrelated to local issues, will be ridiculed at best, and deleted at worst. You have been warned!). However, Rudy as Mayor of New York City did some things I'd like to see imitated locally.

Here is the audio from an ad running now in Iowa. Here is a whiff of it.

"I was given a report, shortly after I was Mayor-Elect, and the report was all of the things that should be done to take New York City out of the deficit. The biggest ones were raise taxes. They asked me what I was going to do with the report..."
Now ask yourself, WWRD? (What would Rudy do)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lame-Ducks Tax: Sophmore Commission Spends

Remember the Average value of a home in Davis County last December was 180,000? That estimate has gone up in eight short months to 210,000.

That's good right?

Not if you live in Davis County.

The County has reassessed the values of homes in South Davis County this year, and has jumped at the opportunity to increase spending to match. They want to increase spending by nearly 50%.

I will pay 303.13 more this year, than last, if the new budget is approved! That is remarkably higher than the average 61.79 on a $210,000 residence. And, my home's value is below average.

If the budget increase is not approved, I will pay 90.64 less than if it is not.

What will the county tell me if I ask?

'Well, you'll be paying $30 of $90 to the School District. It's not our fault. You're only paying us $53.64!'

My problem is that I can't afford to increase my tax budget by 50%! Not without cutting something else. $300 dollars is the cost of an affordable bathtub. $300 is an annual membership for one person at the Bountiful Rec Center.

Fun With Polls

Blogger has added a polling engine, which I'm now testing. You may remember that I garnered some local fame for admitting to hacking a local Clipper poll.

Of course, lots of folks hacked that poll, but I alone admitted to it.

Just understand that I have very little faith in the legitimacy of this poll that I will be running. If you hack it, then it will be fairly obvious.

I think it more than likely that I will only have one or two votes anyway.

Update: I see two votes! I can sleep tonight.

Update: It's been pointed out to me that the 49.5% increase is not a tax increase, but an increase in this years proposed budget! This is far more damning for the current commission than the lame-duck commission! The County portion of the increase approved last December is actually 32.3%.

Did your spending this year increase by 50%?

It seems that there are none innocent in this affair!

Reminder: Tax Increase Hearing

August 9, 2007 @ 6:00 PM – Approve Tax Rates
at Farmington Junior High School
150 South 200 West, Farmington, Utah.(pdf)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Centerville Citizen Breakdown

It appears that WP at Centerville Citizen has had enough and has shutdown his political site.

I don't know when the funeral arrangements will be final.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Effects Of Blogs On Politics

I had a talk with Brad Gillman of the Standard Examiner, this afternoon, giving my thoughts on what I think of the Blogging phenomenon, and its implications for the political sphere. It will be interesting to see how his article turns out!

Final Hearing On Property Tax Increase

Date/Time: August 9, 2007 at 6:00 PM
Location: Farmington Junior High School
150 South 200 West
Farmington, Utah
To obtain more information regarding the tax increase, citizens
may contact Davis County at (801) 4513222.

All public hearings allow the taxpayer to make their voices heard, although this one may more of an education for the new County Commissioners. These Commissioners did not have the luxury of deciding on the tax, but must now live with the consequences of a tax increase.

Hat tip: Davis County Website

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Spending Your Childrens Future

If the board approves the local tax increase, it would mean homeowners would pay an additional $17 a year on a $190,000 home, which is estimated to be a median-priced home in Davis County. Board members are trying to be cautious about raising property taxes, but they need the money for the $555 million budget for the 2007-2008 year to work.
[italics are mine]

Translation: Davis County School Board has budgeted for money that is not there. When private citizens do that, they end up in the poor house. I'm anticipating a pay raise this summer, but if I put in a pool on that assumption, I'd have to send my crazy cousin Eddie to kidnap my boss.

Hat tip: UtahRattler

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fairness Doctorine: The End Of The "Long Tail"

I'm not going to talk about the immigration--now dead--bill here. What I will mention is what Steve Uruqhart, so expertly, summarized on his latest post.

The after effects of a killed bill.

Because the U.S. Senate has been burned by the public it could not serve, it will likely retaliate by severely limiting free speech by the new media. This means that local bloggers like me, that haven't said word one against the actions of a few Senators, will suffer--that is unless we in the new media can unite against the onslaught. Urquhart laid out the strategy in this way.

"Magnanimous in victory, the people must do two things. First, the people should lift the Senate, help it dust itself off, and send it on the right path, by embracing Senators who engage directly with the people. It’s a new thing to them. Efforts should be generously rewarded. On the other hand, the first Senator who makes any motion toward silencing the dialogue should be stepped on immediately."
To those who would impose a bastardized "fairness doctorine" on bloggers, take note. We are not going to take this sitting down. Those of us that formerly kept clear of the immigration debate will join with immigration pundits and form something greater, and more potent than has ever been seen before.

What those that tried the jam down of the failed immigration reform did not realize is the power behind "the long tail". What lawmakers must soon learn is that the new media is born out of infinite variety. Any attempt to limit, restrict, or grant the power of the new media to an ordained elite will result in a deadly whiplash.

If the Senate thought that the outcry of a few political junkies was bad, just wait until they excite the ire of every little narrowcaster out there.