Friday, January 25, 2008

It is beginning to work. You are making a difference.

Huntsman backs some property tax reduction
By Lisa Riley Roche
Deseret Morning News
Published: Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 12:34 a.m. MST
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said Thursday he was willing to consider reducing property taxes this legislative session, but the $100 million cut proposed by his fellow GOP lawmakers may be too much.
"That would sound to me to be high," Huntsman said during the taping of his monthly press conference broadcast on KUED Channel 7. But he said even though he included no tax cuts in his nearly $13 billion budget, he'd consider a cut in property taxes.

"There's a lot of talk about a property tax cut. As soon as something hits my desk, I'm willing to look at it," the governor said. "That is the only area of tax cuts that I would be interested in considering."

The governor did not mention his opposition to new tax cuts in his annual State of the State address Tuesday, something that House and Senate leaders saw as a sign he was willing to go along with their plans to give their constituents another tax cut this year.

By the end of the 2008 session, Valentine said he was confident Utahns will have been given another tax cut.

Curtis said Huntsman's willingness to consider property tax cuts is "a positive step," considering that Huntsman didn't include any tax cut in his recommended budget.
"There will still be a lot of dialog and compromises. Before we get too locked in, or entrenched to a number, we have to get our February revenue updates" for the 2008-09 budget year, Curtis said.

Friends and neighbors,

Let's be sure they hear "a lot of dialog" from all of us. Again I remind you I can not do it alone. You need to pitch in with your weekly emails to legislators and to the Governor himself.

A Bill to watch (and I feel we should support in our dialog) is Senate Bill 29. Amendments to Truth in Taxation. In essence it says in order to raise our taxes above any amount greater than inflation (Consumer Price Index) the taxing entity has to submit the proposed tax levy to a vote of "we the people" during a November election. This is at least an effort for us to have a say into whether they can continue to raise our taxes "willy-nilly" without any real controls put on "other taxing agencies".

Senator Greggory Bell (no relations too me) from Fruit Heights is vehemently opposed and is putting out a plea for lobby groups from the Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Counties to come to the Capitol to lobby against "us having a say in tax increases". Imagine that? A Senator wanting our own local government surrogates to come lobbying against us having any say in gross over taxation and a tax system without effective controls. Yes, I know TNT says by law they must advertise and hold TNT hearings. But when was the last time they did that and listened to the few who bothered to show up? Even when we show en mass, more often than not they just increase taxes anyway. This is one reason why the TNT system does not work and there of course are many others you should already have learned about by now.

"SALT LAKE CITY -- A property tax bill opposed by Davis County leaders could end up getting passed, legislators warned during a Thursday meeting.
Senate Bill 29, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, would require any taxing entity that increases its property tax rate above a certain level to put it before voters.
"I'm telling you that bill has some legs," Sen. Gregory Bell, R-Fruit Heights, said at a Davis County caucus meeting. "I'm vehemently opposed to it, but we've got to have counties, the league of cities and towns come down and talk."
Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said the Davis County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee has not taken a stand on the bill, but plans to watch it carefully.
"We hope you will be cautious about anything that looks like a knee-jerk reaction," Downs said. "We know you've been contacted by a number of citizens hit hard with the property tax."
Bell said the bill has not made it to the Senate floor yet, but he expects it will and "it's going to be hard to vote against" if legislators do not hear from opponents.

Simply amazing, but then this same guy once Mayor of Farmington, and who lists himself as a Real Estate Developer, is the same guy who said in October openly that he would not support Utah becoming a full disclosure state (meaning legal requirement to disclose the price paid for a home). He went on the explain that if he were, for example, living in a half million dollar home he would not be inclined to tell the assessor. But would rather lay low hoping to be assessed at the lowered market values of his neighbors, say in the $300,000 range.

Strange honesty don't ya think? Senator Bell was saying "quite honestly" I might add, that he would prefer to lie and cheat his neighbors by effectively shifting his tax burden onto them. Plaudit for your "honesty" Senator but your ethics and character take a hit at the same time it would seem. Sorta of like the above situation where he seems to be asking the "fox" to "please" come to the Capitol and "guard the hen house".

Don't know about you but these "foxes" deserve to be sent by us "roosters and hens" to England and out of our legislature in my own opinion. Maybe you will share it with me when elections roll around.




Jeremy said...

Another great post. I think Niederhauser's bill is probably a good idea. It will be very difficult for local leaders (at least in Davis County) to come out publicly against the measure since Republican caucus goers have proven so willing in the past to toss out politicians who are seen as the least bit friendly to the idea of tax hikes. I'm betting Bell is going to be disappointed when SB29 goes through without much opposition.

Bell's opposition to elimination of disclosure is typical of developers who have a huge interest in not disclosing how much the land they sell at a huge mark up usually costs them.

ozboy's legislative assistant said...

This is the same Gregg Bell that the Ogden Standard featured in a very fawning article a year or so ago. They compared him to Honest Abe Lincoln! In fact I think the headline on the article was something like "The Honest Abe of Davis County". Made me want to puke! If you read the Standard much you probably can put this in perspective. They are not known as the Sub-Standard for nothing!

I can tell you from personal experience that the paper's evaluation of Bell is total bull shit! I have known him for 14 years and in my opinion he is no Abe Lincoln!

Does SB-29 zero in on our total property tax bill including the county's opinion (appraised) value, or only the mill levy part? Does it have any roll back provisions?

Minor Machman said...

Well sports fans. It is sounding like they have already killed it off. Or it has been pulled. An influential Senator opposes it because he fears counties and "other taxing agencies" will just raise our tax rate by just a hair under the rate of inflation every year to avoid an election. Got to agree it has long been a concern of mine too. Will be interesting to see what happens next don't ya think? Of course a colleague makes a valid point when he says what Commissioner or Distict or whatever will do that year after year and not fear voters rath at the polls. Jordan Weber Conservancy District for one... We just need acquisition value taxation. (period) Fixes to TNT are all too easily worked around.