Thursday, August 09, 2007

Truth In Taxation: Listening To The Public

I went to the tax hearing tonight, and I have decided to offer some suggestions for those who wish to speak at a County "Truth in Taxation" hearing in the future.

If your home just got assessed at a higher value than before.

  • Don't say, "This assessment is unfair".
  • Do say, "This tax is unfair".
  • Don't say, "The schools here are built like the Taj Mahal"
  • Do say, "The Jail is a Taj Mahal"
Now let me explain. Assessments don't matter one iota if the taxes are unfair. Your home could be worth a dime and if the county takes half of it to pay for wasteful projects, then it is the tax you should protest, not the assessment!

The reason we don't talk about the cost of schools in front of the commission is that the school board is their own taxing entity. Please, please attend school board meetings when you can and tell them about their boondoggles. Use the passion that you expressed tonight to show the school board their impact on your lives. The jail, or the Conference Center, or anything else under the county purview is fair game for discussion when at a commission meeting.

Now I think that this commission did hear the people, but they were clumsy at responding. I have some suggestions for the elected officials there tonight. These hearings are not for the elected officials to "educated" the people. It is for the elected to listen to those who elected them. The citizenry may get technical details wrong, but it is their will that should give direction to your actions. You are elected to learn the details, and know how to carry it out. If you were elected to do a $100,000 a year job, then give us just that much value in return. (An aside, it seems that this commission may be voting in the future for a pay cut for themselves. Or, so it would seem.)

Now, I had to leave at 8:00 P.M. so I missed a vote from this commission, but I think they probably tabled the vote until they could reconsider the particulars of this budget, and perhaps the previously passed tax increase. Hopefully, they will use their intelligence to carry out the will of the people.

It is clear what the people want. When a gym full of mostly senior citizens show up to take back control of their lives, then the commission would be remiss not to give something back.

Something like those excess tax dollars!

(Note: if you went to the meeting tonight and can report on what occurred-especially after I left then please leave a comment)


Jeremy said...

Unfortunately I had to leave early too. I left at about 7:45.

This was my first truth in taxation hearing and I took away many of the same thoughts you list in this post.

It was all very interesting. I intend to participate in stuff like this more regularly.

Jeremy said...

I wish I could have met you at the hearing...I looked around but didn't feel comfortable asking each of the younger people there if they were named Tyler. I guess since there were only a dozen or so people there under 60 it wouldn't have been that bad!

Tyler Farrer said...

I've seen your picture so I recognized you. However, you ran out before I had a chance to say hello.

Next time, I guess.

David said...

Good job in going to the meeting Tyler and Jeremy. Being not a resident of Davis County I was busy at a Lehi City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

I find interesting that I was learning some of the same types of lessons that you list here about how the public officials should be communicating to the citizens and how the citizens should be communicating with their public officials.