Thursday, October 4, 2007

“Trust But Verify”

President Ronald Reagan, asked if he trusted his main communist adversary, Soviet leader Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, said: “Trust, but verify.”

Greetings "Wing men (and ladies of course),

Raleigh was the only "grownup" who ever questioned my integrity back in the day. Working for college expenses I drove a Gulf Oil delivery truck in the summer of '63. After delivering 500 gallons "Good Gulf" to his business (Blankenship Ready Mix Concrete) I entered his office with the bill. He mumbled something and walked past taking a 10' long inched stick from the corner. He measured the underground tank and checked his inches to gallons sheet as I watched. Insulted anyone, let along our corner neighbor, would do something like this and still only 17, I asked bravely, "Sir, why did you check me?"

His answer was profound and has hardened like cement all these years, "Customary among friends, necessary among thieves and politicians." It was his own way of saying "Trust but verify."

On 19 Sept., after speaking to about twenty legislators from both the House and Senate, I approached Co Chair John Dougall, Rep. and gave him his requested copy of our speech. I also presented him with our petitions from both the Ogden Valley and Huntsville Town. I explained the significance the numbers of signatures were in relation to the actual permanent residents and asked that all read the specific comments. He agreed, so I added I would appreciate him looking into whether my specific request that the Tax Commission audit Weber County Commissioners and Assessor which had been made to Representative Froerer a month previously had been in fact done. He said he would check, "To make certain the word got through" and agreed an audit was in order.

Following up with Representative Froerer:

----- Original Message -----
From: D-Bell
To: Gage Froerer
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 7:21 PM
Representative "Gage" Froerer,

Did the Utah State Tax Commission ever audit the Weber County Assessor's? The Commissioners? I asked that you call them back on August 11 or so as I recall. Did anyone actually read the Utah State Laws on Truth in Taxation? Specifically:

From "Utah Property Tax" off the Internet....posted several places:

"Because "Truth in Taxation" is revenue-based, a hearing may still be required if an entity's tax rate remains unchanged or even declines. For example, if property values increase 10 percent as the result of reappraisal, but a taxing entity does not lower its rate proportionately, it must advertise and hold a "Truth in Taxation" hearing. The (TNT) hearing is required because the increase in value is not considered new growth.
Many taxing entities (and I believe Weber County is one of them) continue to be confused by this concept and attempt to compare the previous year's tax rate with the current year's proposed rate to determine if a tax increase will occur. Under a revenue-driven system, changes in rates are irrelevant."

Weber County had apparently a 100 million dollar budget in 2006, and now has a 126 million dollar budget for 2007.
Isn't that a 26% increase?
Didn't Davis County have to hold TNT public hearings in Farmington because they increased their budget?
Why is Weber County always the highest taxed County in Utah (see attachment one)? Why can Weber County seemingly just disregard the intent if not the letter of the law?

What does the State Tax Commission have to say about this?
Where are the results of the audit?
Can you get them and send me a copy?

Concerned constituent,


Representative Froerer response:

Mon, 1 Oct 2007 12:26:48 -0600

Dear D.

Thanks for your email. I thought that I had sent you the data from the State Tax Commission but I will send you the data they have supplied to me. I have asked for more detailed information regarding WC from the State Tax commission and as of last week they were working on the information that I have requested.

Regarding WC being the highest tax county in the State. I have also asked that question of the State Tax Commission and am anxious to hear what they have to say as they compare our county with other counties in the State.

Thanks again,


President Reagan. once said the Soviet President Gorbechov at Reykjavík (Iceland): "Trust but verify".

I recently met a man who has a son who is an auditor with the Utah State Tax Commission. He agreed to check with his son to see "if the word had ever gotten through".

"When there are people who will suffer and perhaps actually go hungry or even die in a cold dark place, due to over zealous taxation policy or law, it is time we demand changes." It is again time to "trust but verify" and a time to act.

Minor Machman
"Wing men for Property Tax Reform


Anonymous said...

In reading "Especially, those like Weber County who did not ethically do so with their constituents IAW TNT law, or the intent of TNT law. Only after approval of appropriately justified budgets...release some of the budget short falls, resulting from the above, from State reserves (you have hundreds of millions held in reserve and we all know it)."

I would strongly suggest forcing an audit of the Weber County Assessor's office if item 6 is accurate in the referenced article is correct. Weber County Commissioners were elected to represent us and as we all know - that's not happening!

I/We appreciate the personal effort you are doing !

I fully support each and every item layed out for Senator Niederhauser ...

Minor Machman said...

Bill, I appreciate your support. I requested an audit from our Representative (Froerer) back in mid August. Their are two audit agencies as it turns out. One specifically for the legislators to use, and the other within the Utah State Tax Commission (which is the one I requested). I have followed up with Froerer at least four times over the past two months but have received no audit...instead only charts, tables, and website information and a note from a staffer. Still no answers nor an audit report. And independent sources say none has been requested nor is an audit "in the cue". "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull___." I appreicate your comments and support. Maybe you can get what is alledgedly public information made public. Where is transparency in government? Where is the Attorney General? Where is the law among our law makers? But they want us to believe "the system is not broken?"