Friday, September 7, 2007

More Information About Taxes You Should Know

Greetings friends and neighbors,

Attached please find some articles collected over the past few days. And today's Standard Examiner lead: "Assessment caps ahead?" -Legislators plan bills to help seniors with rising property taxes". This shows the message is getting out but they (our legislators) are still not getting it.

Homeowner property tax reform is not all about "seniors". It is about everyone at every economic and age level and that includes renters also. Our legislators are proposing more Band Aids for symptoms, without diagnosing the disease. And the "disease" is speculative and theoretical property tax assessments based upon wild guesses and computer area assessments and Lord only knows what else... but the truth. The "disease" is also local governments which budget and then have the assessor go find the funds. "Truth in Taxation" has protected us from this perverted scheme for about 20 years but the assaults on the State Law by recent elected and legislative sessions have rendered it virtually null and void. We are no longer protected by legal sanity or fiscal mandates for fairness and equitable assessments or tax rates.

"Phyler versus Doe - regarded as definitive guideline to modern Equal Protection analysis (Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution). In the majority opinion of Phyler, Justice Brennan says that "All persons who are similarly situated or circumstanced are deserving of equivalent treatment."

I am reminded of Plato and his student Aristotle who are alleged to have spent months around their campfire in evening philosophy discussions. They focused on how many teeth a horse had and whether the number of teeth was the same as a jack-ass. Finally a servant had enough and shouted out "I am sick of this talk and theory and speculation. Why don't you just open the ___@$#%^& 's mouth and count their teeth!" - offering both animals for the count in disgust. The philosophers decided that was a good idea and determined a horse has 39 and the jack-ass only 37, thus ending the tired debate. Oh and the servant...he was was killed for insubordination.

Friends the first chapter and verse of the assessor's handbook surely must say "current market value comes only with a willing buyer and a willing seller agreeing to a price." There are no provisions which say it is OK that "Comps" based on dissimilar properties sold within one or two miles and one or two years meets any rational test for market value determination. These are constructs of convenience which ultimately lead us to where are now. Current value or relative assessments or mass assessments or theoretical valuations using computer models or software are the tools of assessors who either are lazy, underfunded, or just plain old dishonest - frankly. And we have allowed them to use often hyped up MLS listings and realty data to continue this nonsense unabated for far too long. The "current value assessment" is wittingly or unwitting designed to escalate unending increases in assessment valuations and market valuations. The realtor's love it due to activity and commissions. And the taxing agencies love it for the unearned revenue it brings to unbridled spending. We Utahans like many other States have seen a never ending spiral of increased taxes due to this hoax, this plague heaped upon all of us by ...pick any reason you or excuse you like. Point is "current value" assessments are more incorrect than correct and just plain wrong headed to begin with. And the time has come to legislatively immunize ourselves from the "disease" - "current value assessments".

Our legislators are continuing to get the word, or at least a part of the word. And they are coming up with many Band Aids for symptoms such as; increase limits for circuit breaker provisions to help the "seniors" (currently set at $26,941). There's that word again "seniors". I submit this is a cruel joke at best. These days no one can pay a mortgage or rent, insurances, property taxes, user fees, licenses (all more taxes),and have enough left for food, utilities and medical necessities. Hence "circuit breaker provisions" were a ridiculous notion to begin with. And there is the Band Aid of increasing the acreage allowable under the residential one acre at 55% rule when local ordinances require greater than one acre minimum. This is no solution to any "disease" but an aspirin at best for those few in Weber -Ogden Valley, who are still laboring under bogus tax legislation to begin with. Then there is the silly notion to lower the green belt acreage from 5 acres (5.25 with a residence on it) to something less...say the size of a horse pasture? This is also silly when enforcement of current law is near totally non existent. This would only encourage more tax cheats at the expense of their neighbors.

"Tax law has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don't know when it's through, if you are a crook or a martyr." Will Rogers

A cap on the amount of taxes "seniors" pay? Nonsense! Are "seniors" the only ones suffering under the weight of over taxation? Don't "seniors" want to pay their fair share? I am a 63 yr. old "senior" and I don't want any special "senior" tax break. I want to pay my fair share without special status or consideration. Get a grip Rep. Ray from Clinton. How about young couples in a State with twice the birthrate of the most prolific third world Country in the world - Bangladesh. Where are they all going to go to find a place to live? At the present rate only middle class working couples with no sleep will be left to tithe and fill church pews. And they will have their tongues hanging out and swollen from near starvation and exhaustion. Any general authorities out there? Any thinking this situation through?

And how about Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parawon, proposing to defer increased property taxes for those over 70? He does not say it but he means - defer it until you are dead and then pass all the tax increases (probably plus interest) along to your progeny who will be forced to sell in order to pay the back taxes. More commissions and more for the Commissioners to squander without SPENDING CAPS!! That is IT! Spending caps and honest budgeting with fiscal restraints.... words which send our "Tax and spend -liberal Republicans hiding out as conservatives" scurrying about like big blond cock roaches when the kitchen light gets turned on in Florida.

You see they just don't get it yet! They are all pandering to the growing "senior" population and reliable voters come election time. While dismissing the vast majority of their constituents. Second home owners are being soaked to the gills at 100% of "current market value" as if there were such a thing. And renters are also hurting with only a promise that their misery will continue as landlords pass along 100% property tax rates to those who can't get enough together for a down payment on a home of their own. The housing market has gone out of control under this perpetual upward spiral of home valuations this "disease" of current value assessments.

Reality based assessments or "acquisition value" system of taxation, first of all still scares the hell out of those in government who are not used to living within a set budget. An "acquisition value" system can only come from the actual and current contractual exchange or sale of a property. It is not theoretical nor arbitrary like we have been enduring these many years with a false "current value" assessment. A "current value assessment" is basically a few people, usually untrained, sitting around the office debating whether your house has a finished basement or only an unfinished 110 sq. ft. fruit room beneath it. Our current "assessments" have resulted from such nonsense and from antique legislation now in desperate need of a major overhaul.

Let's tell all these legislators either figure it out or we will put you out -- of office. It is not all about "seniors". It is about honest, fair and equitable property valuations based upon "acquisition valuations" and therefore real market value. No more sitting around the campfires of Salt lake City debating how many teeth a jack-ass has versus a horse. Open the freaking horse's mouth and count or be counted out of office. Me, I'm gonna go hide as I am only a servant.

And that's a wrap,

Minor Machman

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