Thursday, December 27, 2007

And you thought I was just kidd'in you...Sit back an do nothing and they are coming .

If you believe the Tribune editorial below do nothing. Just sit back and relax and wait until next year. That is exactly what the Realtor Association lobby wants you to do. But if you in your heart of hearts believe that computer mass reassessments are not the solution to all the problems and will create more problems, higher taxes and at greater expense, then for heavens sake do something! Write letters to the editors of the Salt Lake Tribune and the Desert News telling them how for the last three years minimum we have endured this mass reassessment act and look at the results. Gross disparate taxation which makes no sense to anyone. Millions more spent on record numbers of appeals which still have not been resolved. A separate contract with a Salt Lake Appraisal Firm to do the job the County Assessors were and have been tasked/paid to do for years. I say just sit back and say, "Hey ole D-Bell is raising Helen enough for all of us". But truth is they, the editors, are already tired of hearing only my voice. I CAN NOT DO THIS ALONE!!!! Oh and those "cooler heads" referred to in the editorial... Niederhauser and Harper HB 54 sponsors, both Developers and Realtor Association members...remember that.

Property tax fix: Use computers to keep values in step with market
Tribune Editorial
Article Last Updated: 12/26/2007 07:22:59 PM MST

Lawmakers are hot to reform property taxes in the Legislature early next year. But if cooler heads prevail, which we hope they will, legislators will confine themselves to technical adjustments that won't risk creating big new inequities in an attempt to fix isolated problems. One worthwhile technical reform is embodied in House Bill 54. It would instruct assessors in the state's 10 most populous counties to use a computer-assisted mass appraisal system to update all real estate values every year. Salt Lake County already employs such a system to keep assessed values in step with the market, and as a result, protests arising from rapid real estate inflation have not exceeded the norm of about 2.5 percent.
That has not been the case in pockets of other counties. Angry property owners in Bountiful (Davis County) and Ogden Valley (Weber County) are spearheading a tax protest movement.
Utah's system is designed to keep government revenues stable. As real estate values go up, the certified tax rate goes down. The two exceptions that cause higher tax receipts are additions to the tax base caused by growth, such as new housing or property improvements, or tax rate increases approved by local governments and school districts. Assessors are required to update property values annually based on a review of current market data. They also are required to complete a detailed review of property characteristics for each property at least once every five years.
Salt Lake County began employing computer systems more than a decade ago to track real estate sales prices and adjust values accordingly. Keeping assessed values abreast of the market helps to spare taxpayers sticker shock during periods of high inflation.
No tax system yet devised can deliver perfect equity. Within a given county, market values in some areas will rise or fall more rapidly than in others, and a single certified tax rate cannot perfectly compensate for those disparities. But better application of better data certainly can help.
This will come at a price, of course. Counties that do not already employ those systems will incur additional costs to create greater tax equity. Before legislators can evaluate HB54, those costs will have to be estimated.
We suspect, however, that most property owners would consider that money well spent.

And Oh brothern are you all in for a big surprise come next August. Unless someone someplace wakes up and gets a clue...


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

HB 54, Annual Market Value Assessments, Machman's opinion.

Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 12:05:18 PM

Subject: HB 54 Annual Market Value Assessments

Representative Harper and Senator Neiderhauser,

Ratings of Property Tax Proposals
1. Annual Market Value Assessments, (Rep. Harper, Sen. Neiderhauser), amends TNT requiring a mandatory cyclical (yearly) appraisal using mass uniform computer assisted system to value real property. Counties of the first class by Jan. '09, second class by Jan. '10, and third class Jan '11. It is to be jointly administered by the State Tax Commission and Counties. Rating: Worst, because it does what Weber Co. and some other counties have already been doing to us by "mass reassessments", using computer software. The original proposal presented had initial software purchase cost of about $2 Million, plus another $10,000,000 a year to keep it updated or as a user fee. This proposal to use expensive software will just compound the many previous errors already in the tax assessor's database causing a nightmare for the entire State. And at great additional costs on top of the hundreds of millions we already are pouring into County Assessor's offices (29 of them) plus the State Tax Commission. It compounds the disease of current/fair market value by magnifying disparate taxation using contentious software as yet another layer to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) software already contentious and fraught with errors. Had either of you bothered to actually look at the results of computer assisted or mass reassessments you would have not sponsored this proposition. No one in their right mind would...

Very disappointed with your sponsorship of this non solution which will wreck havoc on the citizens of major population centers in Utah.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coordination email exchange. "Hard Ball", a shift in strategy is looming.

Seasons Greetings,

After responding to Marc Goldstone's message below, it occurred to me that simply sharing it with you all would help with coordination and understanding of where I truly believe we are headed. Simply marching on the Governor's mansion, given his recent near total lack of comprehension of our collective plight, may well not be near enough to insist upon and "demand" the taxation reforms we want. Reform not relief. Especially not tokenism relief so small it is an insult.

Marc Goldstone is the Arizonia Tax Revolt Chair. California and other State's interested groups are also being contacted, as well as our own coalition group leader members and selected members of our legislature. If you agree or usual, please let me know your thoughts and opinions. I do not want to over step. D-Bell

As Marc says "D-Bell's group" is intrigued with the concept. And possibly - very likely ultimately the entire Utah Coalition from Washington County in the South to Cache County in the North will become very intrigued with the notion of playing "hardball" with Utah legislators.

For the past week, news outlets announce county budget increases based upon tax increase upon tax increase for 2008, as the year comes to a close. Add to that announcements of utility rate hikes from Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas utilities, impending UTA sales tax increases without end dates for Davis and Weber County, plus 1.81% statewide sales tax increase on top of that for school district bottomless abyss' if they are removed from property tax bills. Smoke and mirrors anyone? Add to that Water Conservancy and Fire Districts tax rate increases of 16.5 and 27%. The tax'em to death feeding frenzy is just getting started again for 2008. It is as if public outrage over - and demands for - significant tax reform have fallen on deaf, dumb and blind legislators, commissioners, and a multitude of "other taxing entities". Yesterday, the Utah House of Representatives announced they have the votes they need to pass a $90 million tax cut in the upcoming session. And IF our Governor (Huntsman) and the Senate goes along, they plan a $15 million property tax cut for homeowners and businesses, $15 million personal income tax cut for independently employed and who pay their own health insurance and about $60 million for further tax cuts "in other areas".

$15 Million amounts to less than $5.00 off each of our property taxes. It is an outrage and an insult to the people of this State. We demand a significant rollback and reform of property taxation and the legislators offer five bucks "relief"? This - in the face of statewide record numbers of property tax appeals and excruciating agony over whether to cut food, medications, heat, and other survival needs among both the old and infirm, as well as young couples also struggling to make ends meet. Five bucks relief, no reforms, just $5.00 or less per household is Utah's legislator's answer to constituents.

Are we interested in joining a National Tax Revolt? Are we willing to dramatically show our collective will to demonstrate resolve? I think so. People are currently seething and in a "wait and see" frame of mind after Davis County offered one time rebates for properties assessed more than 24% higher than last year. And we here in Ogden Valley, as in many areas of the State, are awaiting the results of "Appeals" to the Boards of Equalization in many counties in record numbers. Those results are beginning to trickle in.

"Shirley", my metaphor for Huntsville Town, represents the average (mean, median and mode) with her taxable assessed valuation increasing every year for the past three years or more. This year her humble 1908 wood frame cottage on .38 acres increased 118% and her property tax 92%. She is 86 years young, a widow and intimidated by the appeals process. She also can not afford a property tax increase from $1004 last year that inexplicably increased to $1,928 this year (house market value from $137,513 in '06 to $299,500 in '07). Her home is worth about $125,000 tops on the open market. Yet she received a check for $189 "for overpayment of property taxes" after her "appeal". This is what uncontrolled and unaccountable local government has wrought upon us. Gross over taxation without representation beyond token possibilities where citizens can rail against it. But local taxing entities, like our legislature, simply do not listen. The newspapers and media are either complicit or intimidated by "the power of various political lobby's or the threats to their advertising revenues".

So it will be in the final analysis, a fight of historic proportions and one which will cut across the grain of cultural druthers. None us wants this fight against our own elected officials. But then we are not the ones "so blind, so deaf, and so dumb they will not see, hear, or demonstrate how smart they are to us".

We are a constitutional republic based upon democratic principles - and I fear we are failing to keep it. If it takes withholding next year's property taxes en-mass, I say let's get started now preparing tables/charts, for each State, which show rows and columns with delinquent tax penalty percentages calculated for ease of use and footnotes with any legal issues appropriate for each State.

One thing appears certain, these "feather merchants" we have elected will do nothing unless we band together and demonstrate in significant numbers our collective economic strength. It is time for "hard ball" in Utah and perhaps in other States as well. Ron's diplomatic approach using communication and reason has predictably failed. It assumed leadership and intelligence where in truth there is the same collective IQ as the flock of 52 wild turkeys now roaming around my property, overwhelmed and lost in a blizzard.

Utah Wingmen for Property Tax Reform

Marc Goldstone wrote:

First, let me thank you for returning my call. Let me also wish you a fantastic holiday and new year. I look forward to discussing our Tax Revolt and late tax payment concepts with you and any other National Taxpayers Union folks after the new year.
You had asked that I share with you the folks and organizations that we have been and hope to be working with to promote the Tax Revolt. So I have copied each of those folks.
I explained that if the Arizona Tax Revolt fails to qualify the Property Tax Rollback measures it would be because the system is stacked against newcomers to the political game, not because our ideas are unworthy. Without mainstream press coverage folks don’t know we exist. Because they don’t know of our existence we neither have a sufficient number of volunteers or donations with which to hire signature gatherers. With six months remaining until the July 3rd deadline and since failure is not an option, it was apparent that we need to assure success in an unconventional way.
A gentleman, Ed Carels from Newport Beach, California contacted me a couple of weeks ago. He was impressed with our proposed solutions for the Arizona property taxation system and thought that perhaps we could garner the necessary support by recreating the Boston Tea Party. As you know there are Property Tax Revolts going on in many states, each promoting worthwhile changes. If the changes are proposed by government they are usually little more than window dressing to placate the taxpayer, like for instance a one time freeze on value or some such thing that does little if anything to limit over taxation.
Just like the Boston Tea Party in 1773, the means to achieve a fair taxation system is to deprive the government of tax revenue. This time it will not be due to a shortage of representation but instead due to the failure of our representatives to act in the interest of the property taxpayers. Since local government can not print money the shortfall in revenue will be felt in Arizona beginning on March 1 when the next property tax payment is due and until certain reasonable taxpayer demands are met. The Legislature will feel the sting since they are on the hook to make up any property tax revenue shortfall to the schools by in large the biggest piece of the property tax pie.
For Arizona the preliminary list of demands are:
1) Amnesty for those who make late property tax payments
2) Refer the L.A.W. and S.O.L.E. (anti- illegal alien) initiatives to the ballot
3) Refer the two Tax Revolt initiatives to the ballot
4) A commitment to the Legislature hosting a minimum of six hours of televised debates on the initiatives carried by the local network affiliates prior the Nov. Election.

We have been in touch with D-Bell from Utah who has been fighting property taxes there. His organization is intrigued with the Tax Revolt concept. Don Goldwater and Russell Pierce are promoting the LAW and SOLE border enforcement initiatives and are both aware of this proposal and its potential.
We will be discussing this proposal as well as the benefits of our levy and baseline valuation rollback measures with the Free Enterprise Club after the holidays. The Goldwater Institute will in the coming months produce a white paper outlining the benefits of the measures and their impact on local and state government revenue.
The following are Domains that we have reserved for this effort:
I look forward to discussing the plan with you after the holiday’s.
Marc Goldstone, Chair.
Arizona Tax Revolt
(928) 754-8305

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Legislative Property Tax relief plan is an insult.

Season's Greeting Friends and Neighbors,

Utah State legislators said on Tuesday, 19 Dec., that they favor a 15 Million dollar property tax relief package. WOW! That's about $6.00 or $7.00 off our property tax bills!

No property tax reform measures are being proposed or discussed. All proposals on the table so far, are either stupid Band Aids or pandering to seniors. None address the "disease" which is clearly "fair market valuations" in assessments.

Transparency in Government is a good bill. Also the one which removes school districts from property taxes in exchange for what turns out to be a 1.81% increase in sales tax. It will lower the actual property tax bill, if passed, yet hold public education harmless by doling out more and more to school districts with no accountability. However; it does nothing to solve the root cause of the "disease" (how all our property taxes are calculated), nor does it roll-back our property assessments.

The Utah Realtor Association has done "their thing" on all efforts to reform property tax valuations and the laws which require them. And they have done it for at least the past seven years. So I have decided to let you all in on their dirty little secrets. You will be told how they interfere with legislation, the techniques they use, and the power their leadership virtually brags about. And you will hear it from "them" in their leadership's own words.

You will be exposed to their propaganda and standard talking points, their line of BS in other words, and you will come away like many are already saying..."We have too many Realtors and developers and school district people in the legislature." And it will be up to you and me to get them out of office at every level of government. To remove both them and their legislative/legal influences on our lives once and for all.

It is a long story, so I will endeavor to dole it out in small enough doses so that you can digest it as a series.

The first of the series will begin after the new year, when any hangovers are cured and things are back to "normal". If you can call scurrying around in search of receipts and tax information "normal". So be patient and wait for it. You will be amazed by the whole sad situation, but there is hope and a happy ending on the horizon once you know the facts about how they operate on a local, state and national level.

Merry Christmas,


Saturday, December 15, 2007

This ought to get some comments! The truth about School Districts and teacher's salaries...the biggest part of all our taxes.

Watch "Take 2" with Rod Decker tomorrow at 1100AM. Decker will try to BBQ Senator Curtis Bramble over school funding issues, vouchers and property taxes, among other things. Senator Curtis Bramble is expected to introduce a bill later this year which would go to the public for an up or down vote to bring Utah "teachers" up to the National Salary standard. It would involve raising property taxes by 70% and our income taxes by 42%. How do you like them apples? It is a necessary and brilliant tactic to elevate public understanding of the public school teacher's salary situation. Actually they are the highest paid teachers in the Western States.

Since our own Weber County chooses to behave like white trash and with hold salary information providing only hourly rates, much like Huntsville. I will use a more honest and straightforward County (Davis) which understands transparency in governance.

The median "teacher" in Davis County (after going down a list of some almost 300 administrators who are paid handsomely, with the first 11 getting from $157,428 to $99,985 BEFORE benefits) you come to the first teacher at $60,665. Normalized, the teacher is actually getting paid 1.4 X $60,665 or $84,931 for 186 days of work. ($456.62/day) Normalized to a yearly basis (234 work days minus 186 equals 48 X $456.62 = $21,917 + $84,931 = $106,848.76 a year. And that is conservative by making the assumption that teacher benefits are only worth about 40% more. We pay 30% of their salaries into their retirement funds for example. They invest the 30% we provide so in reality we pay 100% of their retirement since the interest and dividends earned is income we sacrificed (see Ut. Taxpayer Assoc.) Medical, Dental, stipends, and other perks are very likely considerably more dollars.

Now for the average Davis County "poor little ole teacher". How much is she/he actually being paid? The Mean, Median, and Mode for the 1708th Davis County teacher is $50,060. Times 1.4 (conservative estimate of benefits paid by us taxpayers = $70,085 which comes to $376.80/day which equals 48 X $376.80 = $18,086 + $70,085 = $88,171 a year. And they get three months off in the summer. Unless they want a furlough which is a fully paid two year off deal so they can goof off or go for an advanced degree on us usually.

What about that lowest of the low? The bottom of the Davis Co. salaried teachers, the new beans or entry level teacher? $30,183 salary X 1.4 = $42,256 which is $227.18 a day which equals 48 X $227.18 = $10,905 + 42,256 = $53,161.

Now excuse ME! But I don't think Electrical Engineers (EEs) in Engineering get offers in major industry right out of college to be paid at a rate of $53,161 a year with three months vacation in the summer. And I know for a dead certain fact that they do not get retirement benefits (nor does the military or the Govt. Civil Servants for that matter) anywhere near what the teachers are being allowed/paid at our expense. And I guarantee no EE, even with a Masters degree or a Doctorate degree, gets UEA days, holidays, teacher's days, and all regular holidays off in addition to the three months off a year. And EE's don't get paid assistants to do everything our generation tends to think teacher's still do either.

So add the $2,000 raises and $5,000 all means! Governor Huntsman kneel to the UEA Union, shuck up to incompetence in forgiveness for your voucher support, chasing some magic salary figure without any real accountability coming from that public school sector. Let them spend our money on banquets, balloons, and BS; on administrators who are both unnecessary and overpaid, on paid playground supervisors, paid reading coaches, paid students to grade papers, for ... well you should get the idea... This is not the same Public School System that we grew up with. It is one thoroughly out of control with no reigns in any of our legislator's or Governor's hands.

Let this continue without the guts to legislate a maximum of five (5) dependents claimable on State "Education Tax" returns and the UEA Union will continue to grind us all into the dirt. School Districts have already taken over critical State decisions from the legislature and local governments. Soon the top UEA Union person will be the real Governor of Utah and the legislators will all be public school administrators/teachers and the transition will be complete. Our taxes whether sales, education (Income), or property taxes will know no limits. The schools will empty because no one but the teacher's union membership will be able to live here and they will be in charge of educating only their own kids in empty mansion marbled showcase compounds.

At some point you guys in the legislature gotta get a shot of testosterone and stand up to these smiling crooks and send them packing. The best way is five (5) count'em only five dependents per family. Phase it in over several years but do it. It is the root cause and you know it.

OK all you PTA propagandized and teacher union folks, Mormon and Catholic large family advocates tell me where I'm wrong...

Minor Machman or D-Bell

Friday, December 14, 2007

Where Do Your Federal Tax Dollars Go? Now that we know 100% of our Utah Income taxes go to education.

Merry Christmas friends and neighbors,

This little beauty with tax information is just out in time for the holidays... Also I just might have found a solution to the possible negatives of acquisition value taxation eg; (a) could be considered difficult for our kids later down stream due to accumulated tax burdens, and (b) difficulty of "selling it" to the Realtor Association lobby. I am talking to Marc Goldstone, Chairman of the Arizona Tax Revolt. They have been working day and night for almost two years on this, plus spent some significant bucks on constitutional legal issues. Although very similar to "acquisition value" they have come up with "baseline value" methodology and preliminarily it looks and sounds promising.

I would like to put together an Advisory Board and do some serious research and collective thinking on this "baseline value" initiative. So if any of you out there are willing to give up some time analyzing and meeting say at the Branch Library in Huntsville please contact me via email. I'd like about a half dozen of us to explore it in detail individually and then meet as a small group to discuss its pros and cons. Need accountants, engineer, early thirties to us oldsters, CPAs, tax legal, business, realtor and plain ole good common sense kinda people for this effort.

We are not alone in this. As it turns out there are groups forming all across America with strikingly similar problems and concerns who are organizing to fight against oppressive bureaucracies who only know how to spend, with unlimited appetites for more and more tax dollars. We just might find ourselves a part of a National Tax Revolt unless legislators start to listen and lobbyists (including apparently our own Lt. Governor) back off and let our legislators legislate on behalf of the people (us taxpayers) instead of the special interest groups they lobby for.



Where Do Your Taxes Go? Find Out Online!
The federal government has announced the early launch of, an online portal to help you find out how your federal tax dollars are being spent. The website was mandated by last year's NTU-backed Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. Better known as the Coburn-Obama bill, it ensures that information about all federal grant and contract spending above $25,000 is published online for ordinary citizens to review.
This is a monumental achievement for transparency in government. You now have the ability to go online and look at nitty-gritty details about where more than $700 billion of our tax money is going. You can search by recipient name, by agency, even by location down to the city level.
NTU was instrumental to getting that bill passed, including organizing a broad coalition letter with more than 70 organizations signing on, and now we urge you to log on to the website and put it to use!
If you are interested in transparency and accountability in government, visit today and let it start with you.
Thanks to all our NTU members who made this possible!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Report on Weber Fire District Budget and Truth in Taxation Hearing for Tax Increase

Even with very short notice (we, many of us, did not receive word until four hours prior to the meeting) ten (10) Valley residents showed up to protest the tax increase. Some long winded real estate guy on the Fire District Board talked about thirty minutes trying to explain all about what happened in our Valley, but he got only some of it right.

We were perplexed that the public hearing session was being taken over by a couple of members of the Board. The Board seemed a little flummoxed also.

Finally, Mr. Lyle Allen of Huntsville rose and spoke. He explained how his property taxes had gone up 100%. That sometimes this constant increase in tax rates just has to stop. Sometimes government just has to “back off”. Mr. Allen also said these little increases are ending up with people having very large tax bills.

The 2008 Budget was presented by Chief Austin, who explained that the 16.5% increase was the result of how the State required them to report the increase. But that really only 8.8% was the true increase being requested after new growth was considered.

Sandra Tuck from Liberty rose and said in no uncertain terms that she...... click here for more

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Step up and Fund Transit? NOT! A taxpayer's perspective for a change

The voice of the majority; a public mandate is not 1/3 of 1%. That is the margin by which the “Opinion” Question One allegedly passed in Weber County in Nov. Allegedly, because about 1,400 provisional ballots were cast, thanks to what has been spun as overzealous Godfrey supporters. Many votes lay impotent on the cutting room floor leaving the true “Opinion Question One” tote in doubt forever.

But one thing is certain, as many citizens voted against the “Opinion” as those who voted for it. And that public voice is clear. Commissioners, do not raise our taxes any more!

The little people struggling to make ends meet have already been abused by UTA. We have already been paying. Weber citizens who drive pay 43 cents a gallon at the pump, $78 minimum per vehicle yearly with registration, safety, emissions, corridor preservation and transit fees. Add to that what our Federal taxes provide for roads and transit. $500 Million in grant money to Utah County already pledged, for example. All this for roads and transit.

Yet there is never enough. So every County resident is already paying for “mass transit” whether they use public transit or not. We all benefit from reduced congestion and energy conservation they tell us.

Since before 2000 we have been paying and as of 21 July 2007:

State Sales & Use Tax 4.75%
Local Sales & Use Tax 1.0 %
Mass Transit Tax .25%
Additional Mass Transit Tax .25%
County Option Sales Tax .25%
County Botanical Cultural, Zoo Tax (RAMP).10%
*Additional-additional Mass Transit Tax .25% (still hanging in the balance)
Downright depressing Weber Co. Tax Total 6.85%

UTA and Commissioners, what we see everyday is Olympic sized new busses which seat about forty people steaming around the County either empty or with a maximum of about eight people sitting in them. What we see is shining gigantic UTA demands, threats of service cutbacks, and obvious fraud waste and abuse. Fraudulent claims of service cutbacks - where little exists in the first place, wasteful and grossly inefficient service routings - using forty passenger buses brimming with very low rider-ship, and extortionist demands for inappropriate taxpayer funding.

If UTA cuts back services because they can not be made whole on yet another nine million of taxpayer money a year so what? It is way past time UTA quit sucking the public tit. UTA buy your own milk using the interest money from hundreds of millions we have already been bilked into paying you.

If our Commissioners “enact” another “Opinion Question One” Tax* we will be paying well in excess of $26.1 Million a year for “Mass Transit” whether we use it or not. No specifics, no cost benefits analysis, no competitive bids nor even estimates. It would be just a 4th transit tax with no end date on top of many other UTA taxes already being paid forever. None of these “mass transit taxes” have “end dates” attached. We do not think you Commissioners have completely lost your collective minds. Please prove us right.

Commissioners tell UTA they need to get their house in order and manage efficiently before they come to the sales tax well again. Ask when they will become self sufficient and sustain their own operations. A core function of local and State government is to facilitate, not pay for public transportation. If it was we would like our cut of the “Mass transit tax” in new BMW convertibles with all fuel and maintenance included please. Better yet, considering how many are using it you can buy the UTA customers each a “Beamer” and still save us taxpayers hundreds of millions. Something about effective “cost benefit analysis” and whether it was ever done in the past.

Minor Machman

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fire District Public Hearing for Tax Increase

We just received word of a public Hearing this evening for the Weber Fire District. Click here for details.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Last Post from the Machman

Here's a look at this year's breakdown of where your property tax dollars are going:
School districts: $1.27 billion — 56 percent (+100% Income taxes to education)
Counties: $406.6 million — 18 percent
Cities and towns: $332.7 million — 15 percent
Special districts: $255.5 million — 11 percent

Ratings of Property Tax Proposals

1. Annual Market Value Assessments, (Committee, Rep. Harper?), amends TNT requiring a mandatory cyclical (yearly) appraisal using mass uniform computer assisted system to value real property. Counties of the first class by Jan. 09, second class by Jan. ’10, and third class Jan ’11. It is to be jointly administered by the State Tax Commission and Counties.
Rating: Worst, because it does what Weber Co. and some other counties have already been doing to us by "mass reassessments", using computer software. The proposal presented had initial software purchase cost of about $2 Million, plus another $10,000,000 a year to keep it updated or as a user fee. This proposal to use expensive software will just compound the many previous errors already in the tax assessor's database causing a nightmare for the entire State. And at great additional costs on top of the hundreds of millions we already are pouring into County Assessor's offices (29 of them) plus the State Tax Commission. It compounds the disease of current market value by magnifying disparate taxation using contentious software as another layer to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) software already contentious and fraught with errors.

2. Tax Circuit Breaker Amendments (Rep. Allen), (P) Change definition of what is included in “household income” under the Circuit Breaker program. Excludes other working family member’s incomes.
Rating: Poor, due to exclusion of other working family member’s incomes and shifting tax responsibility to others. Does nothing to fix our “disease”. Worse it gives legislators excuses to do nothing to fix the real problems.

3. Senior Citizen Property Tax Safe Harbor (Sen. Buttars), (P) Provide that a senior citizen cannot lose his or her home due to failure to pay property taxes.
Rating: Poor, although probably “means/income tested” it does not address those who sacrifice meds, food, heat etc. before losing their homes/independence. This is just another tax deferral bill. Plus shifts tax burdens. Does nothing to fix the tax “disease”.

4. Exemption Amendments (Rep Dee), (P) Amend circuit breaker qualifying limits and credit amounts. Amend definition of primary residence (based on zoning rather than use of property).
Rating: Poor, due to expansion of already abused 45 % primary residence discounts and because it shifts the tax burden to others. Does not address the tax “disease”. Provides another excuse for legislative inaction.

5. Determination of Taxable Value, (Rep. Dee), Provide that taxable value is based on three-year average.
Rating: Poor, due to last three years of inflated property assessments and captures bad assessment data without quality controls. Does nothing to address/fix the “disease”. Provides "cover" for legislators trying to dodge the real issues.

6. Valuation Base, (Rep Frank), Base property tax on square footage of the improvement (home) and acreage of the real property (regardless of location or market value).
Rating: Fair, simplifies elaborate TNT tax system but disregards reality of location as value factor. A small dose immunization against our tax “disease”. If done correctly it could have promise.

7. Tax Deferral – Senior Citizens, (Rep. Froerer), (P) allow ongoing property tax deferral for certain senior citizen taxpayers.
Rating: Worst, enables mortgage bankers to profit from tax situations, forces sales of properties to repay deferred taxes with 6% interest. Rejected by AARP and citizens in some 25 States which have some form of this legislation. Many commit suicide before resorting to such legislative “relief”. Off the charts-“ugly”, enables continuance of the “disease”. Provides very nasty cover for legislators without solving anything yet creating even worse problems.

8. Increase Circuit Breaker Qualifying Limits, (Rep Froerer), (P) raise the CB from 27K to the “Mid 30’s”.
Rating: Poor, enables continuing inflationary impacts and continues entitlement program yet also continues shifting tax burdens to others already “tapped out by high taxes”. Enables “disease” continuing. Provides another excuse for legislators to hide behind and creates the illusion of reform without actually resolving the major issues.

9. Residential Exemption, (Rep. Froerer), (P) allow the residential exemption to apply to a parcel of property that exceeds 1 acre (where zoning prohibits parcels smaller than one acre).
Rating: Poor, although applicable to the unincorporated areas of Weber County, it shifts tax burdens to all other counties, cities and towns with no such 3 acre minimum ordinance. Does nothing to fix the “disease”. Pandering to local interests without regard to addressing the real (estate) problems.

10. Freeze for Certain Homeowners, (Rep. Ray), (P) Freeze assessed value of real property for seniors(?)
Rating: Poor, this bill would absolutely shift tax burdens to everyone else and over time cause problems for everyone. Seniors need to pay their fair share. The problem is a fairness one for everyone and not just seniors. Does not address the disease. Any "freeze" seems suspiciously to end up just another bill with a "deferral of taxation" attached.

11. Fair Market Defined by Five Year Rolling Average (Sen. Stowell), self explanatory.
Rating: Fair, our problem is it does nothing to address the disease of current market value assessment determinations and in fact captures them – holding on to them over five years. Then it just continues with taxation of speculative and subjective current market value assessments which are totally unacceptable.

12. Limitation on Taxing Authority, (Committee), reduces the maximum property tax rates authorized in statute for certain taxing entities.
Rating: Fair, since it could harness out of control taxing entities with no accountably currently to citizens. Still it does nothing to address the disease. Our problems stem from over assessments and bogus MLS data being used to speculate about a theoretical market value. An impossible task for any assessor to do accurately. Tax rates are not lowered in Dec. for assessments made between the next January through early May.

13. TNT Amendments, (Sen. Niederhauser), Require (General Election) approval of tax hikes which exceed adjusted (by CPI) certified tax rate. Also amend exemption for certain levies.
Rating: Poor, it automatically adds consumer price index rate of increase to“revenue neutral” (not counting new growth revenue increase). Then if a taxing entity wishes to increase the CTR higher than the automatically inflation increased revenue amount calculated CTR, a general or municipal general election majority would be required. This bill makes no provision for revenues (therefore taxes) to actually decrease even if in a depression or recession, for example. In its current form it raises revenues annually and therefore taxes without relief... ever. It does not address the multiples of taxing entities either. Again it does not address the disease- current market value falsification and determination difficulties.

14. School District Funding, (Rep Froerer), provides SITLA funds to a school district and requires the school district to lower its property tax levy by same amount.
Rating: Good, Although it does nothing to fix “current market value disease “ it does take significant tax burden off property tax bill (55 to 75%) and thus offers significant property tax relief. But it has little chance with the Utah Education Association UNION and all the brain washed PTA members they can call upon to defeat it.

15. Assessment Revisions, (Committee), provide that assessor has the burden of proof in assessment valuation appeals instead of the property owner.
Rating: Good, it reverses current situation. Encourages accurate assessments. And removes timidity and intimidation largely from the current process. It is a declaration of freedom from assessor abuses whether mass assessed or personally assessed. This scares the hell out of County Assessor Offices across the State and will go down to defeat before ever reaching the floor of either house unfortunately.

16. School District Tax Base (Separate Bills one by Rep. Harper & later another sponsored by Rep. Dougall), replace all or part of property tax revenue now allocated to school districts with increases in sales and use taxes and/or individual income and corporate income taxes.
Rating: Good, although it does nothing to fix “current market value disease “ it does take significant tax burden off property tax bill (55 to 75%) and thus offers significant property tax relief. Rep. Dougall has again offered this as a swap of 50% off the School District’s portion of our property taxes in exchange for a 1.5% increase in sales tax (from 1.75 to 3.25% ($600 Million estimated revenue). But again the UEA Union and propagandized PTA members will likely rise up and smash any such logical solutions to their fleecing of Utah taxpayers.

17. Transparency (Sen. Neiderhauser), require all public information and employees salary information be posted on-line. Many States already do this, the information is available and just needs to be organized. Salt Lake Tribune and GRAMA already has growing list posted under where most county and public school salary information can be located. This Bill will require all governmental budgets as well as salary information to be posted.
Rating: Excellent, although it does not directly address the property tax disease of current market valuations, it does indirectly by requiring taxing entities to be up front and honest with their budgets, expenses, salaries, etc. Adding benefits values would be better yet since we all are paying for them as well. Governmental bureaucrats hate this bill as well and the UEA Union because it will expose much of the fraud, waste and abuse both local governments (in some instances) and school districts (in almost every instance) have so far gotten by with. Go to and scan each school district looking at the array of administrators and their salaries. Then imagine if their retirement, medical, dental, bonuses, stipends, and other special perks were calculated into those $150,000 salaries. They are costing us twice their salaries, yet the actual teachers still languish far behind other States in their salaries.

18. Acquisition Value assessment taxation, (Bill file reserved by Sen. Niederhauser), requires look back to ’00-’05 for property baseline value. Uses purchase price as baseline for new homes built after 31 Dec. 05. Adjusts yearly based upon lesser of COLA or 3% providing stability and predictability for everyone.
Rating: Excellent, Simple. Easy for taxpayers to understand. Fair and equitable with up front knowledge of tax burdens associated with property transfers. US Supreme Court defined and constitutionally upheld over thirty years of challenges were other “creative solutions” may be bogged down for decades in courts. Effectively puts “other taxing entities” on strict budgets therefore precluding wasteful spending habits. Directly addresses the disease by quarantining it to Centrally Assessed Properties. Has already replaced “the disease of current market value” in virtually every State as the most fair and equitable property taxation scheme available. With the parasitic "Other taxing entities" stripped from our Property Taxes we could see real and significant tax reform.

Good luck folks,

Minor Machman

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Only one voice of 213,247 spoke tonight.

Although Franco asked his wife Allison to come for support, she missed the hearing due to bad directions. K-Bell joined me but, I was the only voice in the sadly missing crowd. Afterwards a nice looking lady (the only other person in attendance) approached me and asked, "Were you being facetious"? To which my answer was "Oh yes! And I think they are still trying to figure it out." The lady was Kristen Moulton, a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. Marshall Thompson of the Standard Examiner was a no show as were the other 213,239 citizens. Little wonder why they have no compunctions about simply doing whatever they want... Sad really and although you my friends and neighbors, may not like "nag journalism" or me for saying so, truth is you should be just a little ashamed.

(I spoke the following words however;)
"My name is D-Bell, (Citizens Coalition for Tax Fairness). I live in Huntsville in the Ogden Valley.

I would like to first of all acknowledge and thank the Clerk Auditor’s Office and Comptroller for all the many hours and hard work it takes to put together a one-hundred eighteen (118) page budget. I fully realize just how difficult a task that is…

And as a resident of Ogden Valley, which has virtually two-thirds (2/3’s) of the land mass of Weber County, I want to express my appreciation to the Commissioners. By your collective authority our Valley will receive direct expenditures of $85,350, if this budget is approved.

The North Ogden Divide will receive $65,000 worth of “safety work”.

And tentatively Moose Hollow might get $20,350 in curbs/roadway work done.

Thanks to your leadership Ogden Valley will see one six-hundred fifty-sixth (1/656th) of our property taxes and other taxes or “revenues” spent directly on Ogden Valley. And for that we are eternally grateful.

And my next point is based upon what the Controller, Dan just briefed about how revenue from the one quarter (1/4) cent tax increase would begin in April.

I would remind you that the election stated it was an “Opinion Question One” and not an up or down vote situation. The voters passed the “Opinion Question” by my calculation by only one-third (1/3) of one percent. And considering about 1,400 ballots were cast as “provisional ballots” many of which lay on the “cutting room floor” uncounted, we may never know the real outcome.

But certainly you must realize that one-third of one percent is hardly a mandate of the people for a tax increase.

Thank you."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blog Poll or what do ya know and think?

What does Hilldale, Ut. where most of the large polygamist families are and BYU students in Provo have in common? Answer: Most child births are paid for by taxpayers (Medicare).

Utah's total local and state tax burden is 10.7%. According to the Utah Taxpayer Association Utah ranks sixth in the Nation in total tax burdens.

"Utah has the youngest population and highest birth rate in the nation, so it is not surprising that our schools have the largest class sizes. And they will continue to grow. The best antidote would be to abandon a tax system that subsidizes families with many children." (Salt Lake Tribune)

"According to U.S. Bureau of Census data released April 2000, Utah "spends a larger percentage of state dollars on education" than any other state in the union." (Deseret News, Apr 2000)

2001 National Centers for Health Statistics, The new federal study reported that Utah's "fertility rate" -- the number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 -- was 93.1. That is 41 percent higher than the national average of 65.9. The next highest fertility rate among the states was 81.1 in Arizona... The report also figured the state's "birthrate" -- the number of live births per 1,000 residents. Utah's birthrate was 21.7 per 1,000 residents -- again, the highest in
the nation, and a third higher than the national average of 14.5.

According to information from income tax returns, Utah has the largest average family size in the country. Utah has four of the top five counties in the country in the US for that statistic, and the most of any state in the top 50 rankings. [Source: Salt Lake Tribune]

Warmed up? How about a survey/poll?

(a) I believe the current property tax system based upon current market value is valid and does not need changing. Yes/No

(b) I believe with some "tweaks" to the current market value system of reassessments like allowing more than one acre to receive the 45% residential discount, putting caps on seniors property assessments, deferred taxation for seniors over 65 and the like will fix the system.

(c) The current market value system of reassessment results in taxes on unrealized capital gains and escalates property values falsely which increases property taxation whether the tax rate or so called Certified Tax Rate increases or decreases. Yes/No

(d) I understand that 100% of my "Income Tax" goes to education (about 80% to public schools, 20% to higher education) PLUS another 55 to 75% of my property taxes all of which goes to the public school districts. And this is perfectly fine with me. Yes/No

(e) I know about the Salt Lake Tribune website,, which shows all public employee salaries by county and includes each school district's employees also. I know many salaries shown represent about half of the taxpayer expense unless benefits for retirement, medical and dental, stipends etc. are added. Yes/No

(f) I understand that our public employees and school district employees are all unionized.

(g) Who is the most powerful and most wealthy lobby group in the State?
Fill in the blank____________________

(h) What are "Centrally Assessed Properties" and who generally are they?
Fill in the blank_________________________________________

(i) Who is your Representative and are your Senators?
Representative for Weber Co area is: ________________________
Senators for District 18,19 & 20:____________________________

(j) Have you looked at the Weber County Budget available on line? What is the amount of the raises the Commissioners are proposing to give all County employees? How much of our RAMP Grant money is being proposed to be spent on the new Washington Terrace Library construction?
If "Yes", amount of raises and costs to taxpayers is $____,____,______
If "Yes", RAMP Grant money for new library construction is $_______________

(k) Do you think Recreation, Arts, Museums, and Parks (RAMP) money obtained from the .1% of our sales taxes should be spent to build a library? Would that mean RAMP should be LRAMP?

(l) How do you feel about County supervisors who can not discriminate between performers who deserve "Merit raises" and non performers who cause problems within their departments? They must all get the same raises without any "relative merits" involved? Fair? Balanced? Honest? Or just plain counter to common sense management principles?
Essay answer________________________________________________________________
(m) Do you plan to attend the Weber County Budget hearing on 6 December (this Wednesday) at 0600 PM? Yes/No

(n) I think this poll is really a confused survey, poll, challenge to get involved. Yes/No

You can register your answers either by using the "comments" on this blog or email your responses directly to the Minor Machman" @