Saturday, January 26, 2008

Contact Information & local Representative "Political" mailer

First the "quick contact" Utah House of Representatives info:

To leave messages for Representatives during regular business hours:
Telephone (801) 538-1029

To Fax Representatives (each fax must be to an individual representative)
Fax (801) 538-1908

Use the map at this site to find out who your Utah State Representative is:
http://www.le.state.ut.us/house/DistrictInfo/newMaps/State.htm
Use the map at this site to find out who your Utah State Senator is:
http://se15.utahsenate.org/perl/spage/distmapal.pl
Utah State House Roster:
http://le.utah.gov/house/members2005/membertable1add.asp
Utah State Senate Roster:
http://www.utahsenate.org/perl/spage/roster2007.pl
Courtesy of Eagle Forum where I got it from...MM thanks Gayle!

Now gentle readers for the political mailer and some facts:

Received on 26 January and paid for by the Utah Republican Party, the local Representative says:

(1) He has placed property tax reform at the top of his list of priorities.
(2) He will fight to limit taxes, control spending at all levels of government and correct problems seen with this year's valuations.
(3) He says "Now is the time for change in our property tax laws. I invite your input as we tackle this complicated issue".

OK here goes. I will try to "tackle" this complicated taxation dummy issue. Property tax "reform" (as opposed to "relief") means changing the root cause of why our property taxes have continued to spiral upward. It means getting rid of confiscatory taxation uniquely tied to Realtor Association desires for turnover and inflated values (6% commission protection). It means recognizing that "fair market value" is male bovine excrement. Assessments based upon them are equally BS. No other tax is based on the speculative guess work of Realtors and appraisers using Realtor controlled MLS information. Simply put "fair market value" is neither "fair" nor an accurate reflection of "value". It is not now nor has it ever been.

So with tax "reform" at the top of your list what exactly have you done?
(1) You have opposed openly every attempt to have acquisition value taxation proposed.
(2) You have even posted anti Prop 13 type propaganda extensively on the Ogden Valley Forum under your blog.
(3) You have vehemently opposed Utah becoming a "Full Disclosure State" (RE 15 August Snow Crest statements). Full Disclosure is a basic prerequisite for Acquisition value (purchase price) based property taxation.

What's this? A deathbed conversion?
Suddenly your website shows you have a bill in the mill for "Modified Acquisition Value Taxation" - well its a little late don't you think? Maybe even a little disingenuous. Six months of Interim Revenue and Taxation Subcommittee study have passed and only 40 days remain in the session.

So much for the "Top of your priorities". Can't wait to see this modified acquisition value proposal! If it is like the one Senator Niederhauser was proposing (HB 54), it has absolutely nothing resembling purchase price or acquisition value reassessments with a cap for inflation. A late grandstand effort for purely political reasons is apparent. You are pretending to be in favor of acquisition value or purchase price taxation while at the same time "supporting HB 54 and the current disease of "Fair market value" and it seems very disingenuous, since they are mutually exclusive...you can not honestly support one while supporting the other. So which is it? We who vote are not fools.

Then you say you will "fight to limit taxes, control spending at all levels ... and correct problems seen with this year's valuation."
Cool, sounds good so show us the legislation you have proposed. Where's the beef? I do like the one where there is a penalty for claiming residential discounts fraudulently (tax evasion). Back taxes at 100% plus 10% penalty. But why five acres instead of three to qualify for the 45% discount?
You say Priority 1:
Limit increases in government spending. Your tax bill should not increase at a higher rate than normal inflation. You support legislation to limit taxing entities from raising taxes beyond the inflation rate. If greater tax increases than inflation a vote of the people would be required.

That sounds a lot like Senate Bill 29:
TRUTH IN TAXATION AMENDMENTS
2008 GENERAL SESSION
STATE OF UTAH
Chief Sponsor: Wayne L. Niederhauser
House Sponsor: John Dougall
LONG TITLE
Committee Note:
The Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee recommended this bill.
General Description:
This bill amends provisions in the Minimum School Program Act and the Property Tax
Act relating to property tax advertisement and hearing requirements.
Highlighted Provisions:
This bill:
......requires a taxing entity to submit certain property tax levies to a vote of the people prior to imposing those tax levies;

I understand SB 29 never made it out of the committee. It was pulled by Senator Niederhauser after Senator Stephenson opposed it. Based upon the notion taxing entities would just hike our taxes every year at a rate just under the inflation rate (CPI) to avoid an election. Hmm, so much for Priority 1. Will it ever resurface or pass? Doubt it.

Priority 2: (the mailer proclaims...) Decrease property tax dependence. "I am supporting legislation that would shift a portion of our local property tax burden to other revenue sources such as sales tax. Our local taxing entities should be supported by all users of government services, not just those who own property."

That is a Bill both Representative Wayne Harper and Representative John Dougall worked up separately. To date no Bill number has been assigned as the two of THEM work to combine into a single bill. But I give you personal credit for suggesting it early during the Interim sessions. And I fully agree with the concept. But it does absolutely nothing to "reform" property taxation. In fact it would, if passed provide significant "relief" to property tax owners on their November property tax bills (between up to 55% to 75% less dollars depending on how much is shifted to sales taxes). But the prospects for this Bill making it through the UEA Union influences are slim. And again it at best just shifts the school district tax burdens, it does not reduce them.

Priority 3: Eliminate spikes in valuations. In your mailing you said:
"To eliminate property tax spikes, I am supporting legislation that would require counties to complete property assessments once a year, rather than once every five years. The burden would be on the county to verify the fair market value of a property, not the taxpayer."

This really means you will vote for the work done by Representative Harper and Senator Niederhauser on HB 54. http://le.utah.gov/~2008/bills/hbillint/hb0054.pdf Then you say "The burden would be on the county to verify the "fair market value" of a property, not the taxpayer." I have read the Bill many times and can find no such provision in it. And after comments by our County Assessor's office senior personnel, "If that were true it would more than double or even triple the size of the assessor's offices and budgets." I have met with them several times, just as I have studied HB 54 and can find no such provision. Perhaps you would like to tell us where exactly that provision is? Is it in another version? Did I miss something?

Maybe you would care to explain to us why you again are sponsoring HB 333? Why has this bill been "stealth" titled on this second attempt? Instead of "Property Tax Deferral -senior citizens" your HB 333 is covertly titled simply "Property Tax Revisions". Where is the truth in that? You did the same last year in April. (H.B. 78, This document includes House Committee Amendments incorporated into the bill on Thu, Feb 15, 2007 at 12:19 PM
Representative Gage Froerer proposes the following substitute bill:
PROPERTY TAX DEFERRAL - SENIOR CITIZENS 2007 GENERAL SESSION

STATE OF UTAH Chief Sponsor: Gage Froerer

Senate Sponsor: Dennis E. Stowell
This bill modifies the Property Tax Act to amend the provisions relating to the abatement or deferral of certain property taxes.

One can not say "no one" or "never", but it is safe to say that available research says about 25 States have some form of this - Realtor Association supported legislation (Re Kohler, 19 Sept, testimony before Revenue and Taxation Interim committee). You and the Realtor Association need to understand how "most" seniors in this Country feel about "Deferred property taxes" on which 6% interest is charged.

True, when the "poor" senior dies the property, including even a mobile home, will most likely have to be sold to pay off the compounded interest and back taxes to clear the lien put on the property. And true that will increase the "fair market value" assessment, generate more property turnover and thus 6% realtor commissions. But most "poor" seniors have not chosen this option in States where it is offered. There is some evidence "poor" seniors actually self euthanize (commit suicide) before putting their heirs in such a dreadful position. I can not understand how anyone, let alone my representative could EVER support, much less continue to sponsor, such Machiavellian legislation.
LEGISLATIVE GENERAL COUNSEL
Approved for Filing: A.D. Oakes 6
01-24-08 10:48 AM 6
H.B. 333
*HB0333*
PROPERTY TAX REVISIONS
2008 GENERAL SESSION
STATE OF UTAH
Chief Sponsor: Gage Froerer
Senate Sponsor: ____________
General Description:
This bill modifies the Property Tax Act to amend the provisions relating to the
abatement or deferral of certain property taxes.


And then there is the matter of your cosponsoring legislation (HB 296 - Approval of Subdivisions") which would make it legal for developers to go around local planning commissions like the Ogden Valley Planning Commission and directly to County commissioners if the developer could prove they have met all local ordinances. It almost passed as we recall.

Then came HB 466 which effectively does the same thing by making it easier for developers to get around local planning commissions AND county commissioners by making it ridiculously easy on developers, who are generally also Realtors, to simply create their own Towns. And the icing on the cake, developers submit a list of candidates from which the Mayor and Town Councilmen and Planning Commission are selected! What arrogance! It did pass 66 votes and one absence. So you must have voted for that "beauty" too.

I would submit Sir, that you in fact represent the Realtor Association and Developers and not me or the citizens of Ogden Valley or Weber County. If you do, you have one hell-of-a-way of proving it. Your track record shows a gross inclination toward supporting your own profession (blatant Conflicts of Interest) and the Utah Realtor Association for which you served as President.

On second thought, maybe you are, considering the number of Real Estate agents, brokers and developers in this Valley.
I guess next we will hear how much on top of the Powder Mountain situation "we" are. From Rudi's post on the Weber County Forum, "Down south on Capitol Hill, Senator Stowell has already cleared committee and is headed to the senate floor for a vote with his SB-25, which would modify the provisions of last year's flawed HB-466. If Sen Stowell's bill sails through the legislature as anticipated and becomes law prior to Powder Mountain Town's formal incorporation, Mr. Arnold's devious plan to bypass Weber County in the planning process is "toast." The race is on; and Mr. Arnold doesn't have a minute to lose. Grab your popcorn and pull up your barca-loungers, gentle readers. This one will be interesting to watch. And if you're the type who'd rather participate, rather than merely observe, Senator Stowell's contact information is available here."

And of course we know for sure you are doing everything within your power to reverse this beauty of local Ogden Valley criticality, "Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, said several attempts at forming new towns are already happening under HB 466, including Powder Mountain in Weber County, and making them restart the process under new rules would be unfair. "

At least we sure hope you are "Representative" Froerer. Representing us citizens instead of your own business interests that is. You Sir, are a very big part of the problem not the solution.

Namaste,

Minor Machman

5 comments:

Lionel said...

Great work Minor Machman!

The property owners in the State of Utah owe you a huge debt of gratitude for your time and effort in researching these complicated issues.

What you have written here in answer to representative Froerer should be read by every single property owner and voter in Legislative district eight.

The real question is just who he represents, us or the realtor interests. And make no mistake about it, regardless of what the real estate industry would like us to believe, their interests are not the same as ours!

Tom-1 said...

I predict that Gage Froerer and his Republican masters in the Legislature & Real Estate lobby will continue to pay a lot of disingenuous lip service to property tax reform, and then when all is said and done there will have been a lot more said than done.

They are not serious about any kind of spending controls. Without some discipline in spending they will have an ever increasing need for money from the citizens and there will be no real tax relief of any kind.

They will make a lot of talk about property tax reform but in the end any meaningful bills addressing it will be buried in committee just like SB29 was this week. The masters of the Republican's in the legislature are also masters of slight of hand tricks. They create the illusion that they really care about their constituents, but it is just a false front. They are only loyal to their own little GOP club, not the citizens. They really don't care if some one's grandma gets kicked to the curb because their policies have taxed her out of her home. They say they care, but it is just more lip service.

They will talk a great game, they will show faux compassion, but in the end they will only put a band aid or two on this cancerous property tax that is bringing so much pain to so many. Then they will go into the fall election bragging with straight faces about how they fought for us and won. Yes, they really are that cheeky.

Unfortunately there is a huge number of voters in Utah who are uninformed about the true nature of these predators and cannot see past the "Republican" label. They will forget about their actions and vote for them based upon their false promises.

There are even people in the Valley who will be seriously and negatively affected by this Powder Mountain fiasco and who come November will vote for Froerer because he is a Republican. This in spite of the fact that he contributed significantly to the legislator who authored the legislation that made this Powder Mountain outrage possible in the first place. He also voted in favor of it.

We do not have a viable two party system in Utah, and until we do this real estate lobby driven nonsense will continue to plague us. The only solution in our lifetimes will be for more people of integrity to get involved with the Republican party at the caucus level and push for ethical reform from within. We can start that right here in Leg 8 by finding a competent and honest candidate to challenge Froerer and his true constituents - the Real Estate manipulators and GOP bosses.

Kick the Bums out!

Dreaming of a miracle said...

Tom-1

You certainly seem to have Froerer and the Republicans that control the State Legislature Pegged with a capital "P".

How about you throwing your hat in the ring to replace him?

Minor Machman said...

I have made no secret that I do not feel we have been represented well the past two years. It did not start out that way until I did some digging. But after what I have seen and learned since August I must say we need better in the legislature because we are better. I have been asking around to find a new candidate but as one person who was previously politically involved said, "Machman, I felt like I was attending a meeting of an organized crime syndicate.", referring to County and State caucuses, conventions and meetings.

I think in order to restore credibility and the dignity of our legislature we must consider removing legislators who have failed us. Failed us by taking and harboring significant conflicts of interests in their decisions, proposed legislation, and behavior. By representing apparent bought and paid for special interests without regard for us "little people" who elected them. We need to replace those who are a big part of the problem with those who will serve all the various Districts and all those who reside within them and not just the special interests. Special interests who by the way contribute annually almost a million dollars to tax free campaign war chests, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free tickets, trips, meals, and gifts.

It is both astounding and depressing to realize most (not all) of our legislators are on the take and do not seem to think it is wrong. They simply are in denial and rationalize this graft and corruption whisking it away as if it were nothing more than a "warning parking ticket". But they are parked on our expectations for honesty. And by their behavior, have so alienated the average citizen, cynicism has replaced civic duty. So much so no one even bothers to show up when taxing agencies hold public hearings. We just say, "What the heck..they are going to raise our taxes whether I go down there or not.

We have unwittingly become participants in bad government by allowing our cynicism to replace our citizenship and civic responsibilities. This can not continue. Neither the out of control spending, ivory tower attitudes of some officials and legislators, nor the indifference of us ordinary people. When we become apathetic and are not involved there are always special interests which will step in and fill the void. Our power at the polls trumps special interest lobbyists but only if we become engaged and involved. So I will ask you again and again to join me and become involved and engaged.

Read this blog, read the Weber County Forum, and the Ogden Valley Forum. Read the Valley News and the Standard Examiner. Sign the petition against the developers who want to make our lives miserable and help line their pockets through even more taxation. Fight like Hell to make House Bill 466 go away and quickly.

And understand who passed it 66 to 0 in the first place and why. Understand why House Bill 296, Approval of Subdivisions, almost passed at the same time. It too was a developer friendly law by making it much easirer to go around the will of the people and their appointed and elected officials. Join me and all seniors across America in our disgust for and disapproval of "Deferred Taxation", then ask who is continuing to sponsor it and why? If no one will use it why is it being secreted in the House for two years? Who wants it and why? Be involved, become engaged and ask questions.

So, if there is anyone out there without "a dog in any particular hunt" (meaning without conflict of interest) and who is equipped with basic morality, character and respect for ethics in governmental affairs. With a history of selfless service and desire to actually serve the public. Please send me a personal email. If not I may have to apply himself. My hat is off and I am so far just shaking my head in dismay. You will decide whether or not my hat gets tossed into the ring.

ozboy said...

Go ahead and throw that hat in the ring Mr. Machman, we need a voice of integrity in that pig pen called the State Legislature.

I'll vote for you. Heck, I even do it twice!