Below is a recent message sent to the "movers and shakers" who lead efforts to revise property taxation, indeed all taxation issues. I lay awake one morning thinking about the most significant problems with our current property tax law and worked on it. This "temporary solution proposal" is the significant relief I think we need in the more immediate or short term (next two years) while a more permanent solution is researched and studied such as acquistion value (purchase price) or baseline taxation.
Let me hear from you if you agree or disagree. And please remember to let the legislature hear from you again this week. Writing a letter to the editor of the Standard Examiner will "kill two birds with one stone."
And finally, the "rest of the story" about what really went down in Committee, as our local Representative sponsored HB 155 was discussed, is found on "page two".
To: "John Dougall"
I know you are very busy now but I would like for you to think about something.
The current "Truth in Taxation System" has many flaws. I will not spend time delineating them as I think you are all aware.
But the most pressing and important concerns are deficiencies in "fairness" and "ability to pay".
And although I think we need our own version of acquisition value or modified acquisition value property taxation, I realize changing the Constitution and implementing AV or baseline could take several years.
So I would like you to consider this and offer it as an interim and more immediate solution.
Base property taxes on State adjusted gross income and charge 2%. In this manner everyone would benefit. Think about it.
Indigent and the poor struggling to get by on $20,000 in Social Security would pay $400. You could repeal the Circuit Breaker safeguard. You can put a stop to Froerer's and now Buttar's "Deferred Property Taxation" nonsense.
Property owners on a fixed income of $50,000 would pay $1,000 and no more. Young couples filing jointly in a rental situation making $72,000 and saving for a down payment on a home would pay $1,440. And it would be "fair" since they probably have kids in public schools. Landlords making $250,000 a year would pay $5,000 in property taxes. "Fair" because he/she has income earning property. The President of the University of Utah Medical Center would pay $10,000 in property taxes since his salary exceeds the limit of $500,000 a year where exemptions kick-in.
No more tax evaders claiming "primary residence" 45% discounts for vacation homes. No more debates or arguments about special interests or exemptions since property taxes simply become an extension of income/education taxes. No more outrage over unfair property taxes with all their "unique" injustices. No squabbles over whether local ordinances require more than one acre and taxing the "luxury" acerage at full market valuations.
This new property tax could be easily collected using the "Education/Income Tax" process. People, knowing their annual incomes, could budget for it and have their property taxes withheld by the state monthly. No more November shock and awe or "sticker shock" from guess work and game playing local governments.
"Other taxing entities" would be funded based upon existing pro rata shares of property taxes collected via the State Tax Commission. State could control expenditures and "Mac-mansion" public building construction and excessive growth in local (County) budgets. They could at long last be could be held in check.
Twenty-nine County assessor's offices could be virtually eliminated to pay for any minor increased responsibilities of the State Tax Commission. This would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars which could be used to help with increased investments in natural resource funding and the bottomless pit of the public school system.
This solution would enable the Real Estate market to take its natural course via supply and demand without impacting property taxation.
Continuing to allow local entities to tax citizens must be considered a dismal failure. Counties and "other taxing agencies" have abused their taxing authority and continue to grossly abuse taxing powers. It is past time to reign them in before all trust and confidence in government is compromised beyond repair.
I hope this idea may be of some use to you in resolving the current problems with "unfair" property taxes which ignore "ability to pay" considerations.
285 S. 7200 E.
Huntsville, UT 84317
House Bill 155 is the one Keith Smith and so many others have been seeking relief from living under the yoke of the three acre minimum Ogden Valley ordinance. They are unfairly having to pay property taxes based on $100,000 and $200,000 an acre full market value "guesswork" and "speculation" by Weber County assessors on the extra two acres without a residential discount.
Oh, and the reason HB 155 is stalled is because its sponsor, Representative Gage Froerer, did not do all his homework. Questions were raised by several during the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Tuesday. Frank Gardner, with the Utah Association of Counties was only one who wanted to know specifics. Like how much of a tax shift will be bourne by surrounding property owners or people living in other areas of the County.
Each Bill has a basic cost or revenue figure attached which they refer to as a "fiscal note". Yet there was none. This is usually obtained from the analysts in the legislative research department. Representative Hughes said with no cost information for the shift, I think it is too important to move it forward without this important information. Chariman Dougall asked Mr. Gardner to work with the sponsor in an emergency meeting in order to work out the details before the next scheduled meeting early Monday morning.
Yet when the Chairman asked for how much of a "shift" in tax dollars, as did others, only vague and subjective answers like "not great", "it would not be a significant amount", "somewhat minor" and "negligible amount" came from Representative Froerer.
The Committee thus voted to "table" the Bill so that the basic research could be done and a dollar figure less vague and nonspecific could be worked up by legislative research.
And that is the real story Mrs. Loretta Park forgot to report in the Standard Examiner today.