Saturday, October 23, 2010

"It's the Economy Stupid"

When Bill Clinton ran for president his campaign strategist, James Carville, made that phrase famous.

Today everyone complains about property taxes and how high they are. And they are indeed high.

All our energy is spent trying to "reform" property taxes with all manner of gimmicks, circuit breakers, exemptions, levy limits. The fact is that what we are really doing is trying to fix spending using our property taxes as the tool. A worthy goal but it doesn't truly re-form Property Taxes.

Even if successful we will have failed most property owners because, with all due apologies to President Clinton, "It's the Revaluation, Stupid".

Revaluations are required to assure that buyers pay fair taxes on property they buy. It's fair for new buyers and should be done at least annually. (Triennially is better than every ten years but it's still not enough).

For existing owners however, revaluation means that thousands of homeowners could get tax increases even if spending is lower than the prior year. This is gross injustice to all existing owners and is simply unreasonable.

We can solve this apparent dilemma but it requires a willingness to revisit and re-think some antiquated ideas.

Please look at this
5 minute video and see if you don't agree.