Friday, July 27, 2007

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!