Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Live Blogging: Property Tax Townhall Mtg

7:19 Public officials here are Alan Hansen, Rep. Neuenschwander, and James Ivie...otherwise it is a full house of citizens here at the Bountiful Library.

7:21 I got started a little late, but the meeting began with a discussion of the property tax abatement applying only to this year and the recycling program being a fee, but still a cost to the citizens.

7:27 Some questions and comments from the audience...I'd like to see the rest of the presentation, but this is getting people excited.

7:28 Legislative priorities

  • Fair and equitable property valuation
  • Fair, transparent accounting for taxpayer funds
  • Fair system for tax increases
  • Fair way to fund public education
7:31 Good, Bad, and Ugly Legislation

Good. Acquisition Value. Truth in taxation on steriods. Move schools to other taxes. Transparency in government. Burden of proof on Assessor. Limitation on taxing authority.
Bad. Rolling Average. More oversigth by state tax commission. Value based on square footage. Extend 45% exemption to more than 1 acre.
Ugly. Tax Deferral. Circuit breaker increases. Tax freeze for certain people. Annual market value assessments. Longer lasting voted leeway.

7:36 To pass a tax increase greater than the cost of inflation ought to be a vote involving a double majority (not only must a majority turn up to vote, but they must have a majority in favor of the tax increase).

7:39 The co-founder of DavisParents.org, Randy Smith, is making a comment that moving schools to a sales tax might be regrettionary? (I'm not sure I heard him correctly. I'll try to clarify.)

7:43 When Bret Milburn ran for Commission he ran on cutting taxes. Cited Mitt Romney running the olympics (I'm not hearing Ron say that Milburn has not done this yet.)

7:45 Rep N. is saying that the characterization that the legislature won't cut the budget is unfair. He says to come to the health and human services committee to see the cuts.

7:49 Mr Ivie is asking if Ron is willing to raise taxes to hire 100 more assessors for the frequent assessments that is being suggested.

7:51 Comments from the peanut gallery are getting pretty heated driven, in part, by the defensive stance of the elected officials.

7:53 An argument is being made against a Prop. 13 type reform, however I'm not sure we have a bill that does this.

8:01 Tax deferral means that you don't pay til you die or sell your house. (In the meantime, everyone else is paying more because others taxes are nil.)

8:04 James Ivie is speaking, and suggests that his plan is to get all "properties equalized at the same time."-meaning that they get assessed near to same time.

Mortensen responds that Ivie is not the enemy, but that problems caused by infrequent assessments began long before Ivie was elected. Ivie has been good at his job.

8:09 Comment from Weber county citizen who says that our assessments are based on the MLS which does not include 'for sale by owner', meaning there is a 6 percent higher value placed on homes due to realtor commissions which figure into the value of the home.

8:13 A commentor suggests that to be an effective lobbyist you should be working all year long, not just when the session starts.

8:15 Mortensen: Average increase in budget has been 15% per year since Huntsman has been in office.

8:18 Comment from a citizen. The county commission only has authority over 4 out of 14 entities.

8:22 Utah's Right to Know. for salaries of public employees.

8:23 Meeting has ended.