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 03-13-2006, 11:03 Post: 126028
Chief



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 High property taxes driving a new revolt

This article points out how in my opinion government holds our private property hostage and extorts ever growing larger amounts of money from us at gun point and threat of siezure. I suppose this begs the question............. if land prices went down.................... would property taxes go down proportionately??? If any private citizen were to engage in this type of activity.......... it would be called "Racketeering or Organized Crime".


High property taxes driving a new revolt

Several states eye moves to cap tax growth after property boom.

By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

ATLANTA In Orford, N.H., a tin-roofed hunting cabin worth $10,000 was recently assessed at $200,000, just for its mountain view. Taxes on the cabin and its outhouse skyrocketed.
Around Lake Tahoe, along the California-Nevada border, property taxes have shot up 135 percent in the past four years.

Residents of Beaufort, S.C., pay $17 million more in property taxes today than in 2000.

Welcome to the flip side of the real estate boom. Years of rising home values have boosted property taxes steadily. Now, homeowners across the United States are fighting back.

"Real estate growth and real estate boom seem to be happening all over the country and [property-tax revolt] is an inevitable consequence," says Roger Sherman, a property tax expert in Boise, Idaho.

This year, legislative proposals, citizen initiatives, and lawsuits are on the agenda in at least 20 states. These new efforts reflect both residents' distrust of how their property tax dollars are being spent and concerns that rising assessments are driving working-class people out of popular towns and cities.

Tax caps are not new. California's Prop. 13 initiative in 1978 capped annual tax assessment increases at 2 percent until a property is sold, a law that is still on the books. Nevertheless, the steady rise in home values has meant that local and state governments are increasingly reliant on property taxes as their No. 1 revenue stream. Last year, those governments collected $339 billion, according to the Census Bureau, some $2,750 for every home in America.

This perceived shift of the tax burden onto residential properties is behind the various tax revolts. It also doesn't help that often tax bills reflecting double-digit increases are mailed out at Christmastime - notices that affect older and long-term homeowners the most.

"The intensity of outrage has not been this high since Prop. 13's heyday," says Pete Sepp, spokesman for the director of the National Taxpayers Union in Alexandria, Va.

Reducing property taxes, however, may curtail local governments' ability to raise money for schools and services, some critics say.

Others don't see what all the fuss is about. Since the property tax is determined and spent locally, it is the fairest of all taxes, experts say.

"You think [the property tax is] where the revolt should not come, but it does," says Helen Ladd, a property tax expert at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Revolt is in full swing in Incline Village, Nev., on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

There, Maryanne Ingemanson's tax bill is now $80,000 a year for a 5,000-square-foot house. She and a group of residents raised $400,000 to fund a lawsuit claiming recent assessments are unfair. Last week, 17 residents won a battle against the tax assessor when an elected county board threw out the new assessments.

Of course, many believe homeowners should be glad that their homes are worth more, says Ms. Ingemanson. But many people - especially the working class and those on fixed incomes - can't always afford the new taxes and have to leave. "This runaway taxes situation is driving people from their homes," she adds.

Story continues below


'These are essentially back-door tax increases that give government no incentive to be efficient or responsive.' -Georgia State Rep. Lindsey



South Carolina's 3 percent cap

South Carolina last week passed a law that caps the increase in property assessments at 3 percent per year.

Many Georgia lawmakers are backing a measure to put a similar cap in the state constitution. The bill's sponsor, first-term state Rep. Edward Lindsey (R) from Atlanta, argues that it's unfair to hit homeowners with a big tax boost years before they sell their home and profit from its increased value.

"Not even the IRS is so bold as to tax people on unrealized gain," says Mr. Lindsey. "These are essentially backdoor tax increases that give government no incentive to be efficient or responsive."

Georgia school superintendents say the measure would make it more difficult to raise needed cash for the state's schools since schools would have to go to the voters for additional funds.

"The fervor for doing something about property taxes seems to be unusually high," says Herb Garrett, executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

Should you get taxed for a view?

Assessments can vary according to a community's affluence and aesthetics, such as views of mountains or lakes. Tom Thomson, leader of the "Ax the View Tax" movement in New Hampshire, objects to taxing people on intangible qualities such as a view. "It's another process of dipping into taxpayers' pockets without any legislative process, and that is taxation without representation," says Mr. Thomson, son of the late Gov. Meldrim Thomson Jr.

To be sure, higher assessments alone don't mean higher taxes. But the total tax burden on homeowners rises when local governments do not decrease the tax, or millage, rate when property values spike.

"Reassessment has been so big in many communities that local schools and governments have gotten huge revenue increases without ever having to vote on it, so they sit back and take advantage of the largesse," says South Carolina state Sen. Scott Richardson (R) of Beaufort.

But government should move carefully and try to "smooth out the bumps" of rising property values rather than initiate dramatic reform of a tax that is "basically fair," says Bill Fox, an economist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

"You don't want to strangle government, but you want to make sure that government is not unduly benefiting from unique circumstances in housing prices," he says.

Tax revolt in the states
In the wake of the real estate boom, lawmakers in several states are pushing to keep property taxes from skyrocketing. Among the initiatives:

Idaho: Lawmakers are mulling over eight bills limiting property taxes. One would revise the "homestead exemption," which now keeps the first $50,000 of a home's value off the tax rolls. The bill boosts that to $100,000.

South Carolina: Having capped the rise in property tax assessments at 3 percent per year until a home is sold or improved, the legislature is now considering a rollback of property taxes, replacing them with a hike in the sales tax.

Georgia: Many lawmakers are backing legislation that would put a similar 3 percent cap into the state constitution.

Nevada: Protesters are gathering signatures for a citizen initiative that would require the state to refund taxpayers if state revenues rise faster than inflation. They also want to cap the growth in property tax bills at 1 percent per year.

Connecticut: After an uproar over massive assessment hikes for lakefront properties around the state, state officials have ordered cities and towns that have seen property tax spikes to calibrate disputed assessments to "comparable" properties, based on records of recent sales








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 03-13-2006, 11:36 Post: 126031
wingwiper



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Chief

You can't really blame the Govt for Property Taxes. They were created by the population who yearned for Services and then had to create new ways to pay for these services.
To me they are an Illegal Tax but because so many states have created them they have become the NORMAL.
I just had a State-wide Property Assessment and my value shot up like 80%, I noticed that I was being billed for Views and when I went to Grive my taxes. The State Lister Insisted I had a View. I said to her "You spent less than 10 minutes on my property and you never knocked on my door and yet you are going to argue with me and I have lived there for 20 years?" When I told her that the trees of 20 years ago, Had grown and there is NO View left even if you got up on my roof, I was able to have that taken off. I was also billed for several Outbuildings which by the League of Cities and Towns are not suppose to be taxed. She even compared me to three homes that were sold within a 20 mile radius. I told her, "yeah! but they aren't on back roads, they don't suffer from a Mud Season and they aren't eaten alive by Skeeters, how can you judge what a home sells for 20 miles away?" She also said my house was in a better part of town. I stood there for a couple of hours and listen to 5 grievences prior to me and at least three after me and she told them all that they were from the better part of the town. "I told her our town had 11 miles of backroad and no street, two stop signs and all dirt roads, so which part of town was the BAD side?"
As long as people keep voting for newer Town Buildings and more services they are going to keep raising their own taxes. When you have a municiple school system, one town can vote against the budget and if the other towns in the Union pass it, you are S.O.L.






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 03-13-2006, 11:51 Post: 126032
Chief



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 High property taxes driving a new revolt

You may want to check again with your tax assessor. In Tennessee their is a property tax provision called "Greenbelt" which reduces your property tax to approx. 1/4 of what it would be IF you qualify. To qualify, is must be at least 15 acres in size and be agricultural, forest, or open grass space.

I agree that property taxes are an ILLEGAL tax as well. They are also UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Another means for the JBT's to steal and control private property.






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 03-13-2006, 11:55 Post: 126033
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Since I live in South Carolina I would like to add to some of this. It is my understanding the sales tax idea died because it would have such a negative impact on tourist. Well still would have been about 2 per cent less than Tenn which has a large tourist economy (much of my tourist dollars go there).

Our county (includes Myrtle Beach) took a termendous increas close to doubling. On one little piece of land I offered to sell it for the value they set. They do not vist all properties here, do a lot of it by looking at tax maps. On that piece of property I send in all kinds of info on why they were off in the value (process they want) and they paid no attention to it. I had to sit in there office and tell them 3 times before they understood it was not on a public road.

Property taxes have already become the leading issue on this years local elections. We will see single issue voting within our state on this issue.

By the way, our county with such a large increase is already letting it be know they need more money next year and we have a surplus.






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 03-13-2006, 12:02 Post: 126034
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I forgot to add my sister lives in Illinois and she has same kind of dumb deal there. She ended up with law suit threat and they acknowlege they were way off base on her value. High of course.

She found a person in the tax office that helped her in her battle. Rare.

I do disagree with the thought we are paying those taxes at least in our state due to our voting for such and such. Our county loves to close a school and let it fall in and then sell it while our other part of the county is building offices when they could have used the too small closed schools. Our school board is very hidden in our county. Very hidden.






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 03-13-2006, 12:43 Post: 126038
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Chief

Up here in Vermont we have what is referred to as LAND USE and you need to have 25 acres or more and the land claimed to be used for LAND USE has to be Agriculture or Forest. Alot of FLATLANDERS move up here and buy a 100 acres, hire a few people to come in and cut a few trees and then plant a few more and claim they are a TREE FARM... really. as long as they show a $75 earned per acre claimed they are Golden. so if they claim 10 acres of their 100 acres they only have to have earned $750, Hell one tree can bring in a few grand (Cherry).They pay much less tax for Land Use than for no-land use. They sell alter on and wow! they turn a bigger profit on account the rest of us idiots have been paying their overhead for years.
I have only 10.5 acres and I hunt on it, cut my own Firewood, have a big garden, raise Turkeys and Chickens and can I claim LAND USE/ nope! I use it more than that damn Banker down the road, He can I can't so not only do I pay my taxes, I pay a share of his as well.
The Consitution speaks of Consumtion Tax and I don't see where a person who finally has saved up enough to paint his house should have to pay more in taxes when he does, on account it raised his Property value.
When I was reaccessed I also asked, my house ain't worth what you are telling me it is worth and if I do all of the repiars that it needs will it increase the value or were those repairs considered to be apart of the accessed value?






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 03-13-2006, 12:58 Post: 126039
Chief



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 High property taxes driving a new revolt

wingwiper, I think I would be looking into buying another 15 acres that joins the 10 acres you already have or buying a parcel of land 25 acres or more in size and selling the 10 acres or developing it.






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 03-13-2006, 13:49 Post: 126041
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 High property taxes driving a new revolt

here's my two cents:

In addition to it being illegal, the property tax is also immoral - how can you justify taxing someone based on what the sale price of a property is, if there's no intent to sell it?! I just don't know what goes on in the heads of those who support reassessments and all this insane spending. My neighbor is a really nice old guy, but his attitude is - well, we live in the greatest country on earth and we pay our taxes for the priviledge of living here. What the hell?? How do you argue with an individual like that? They just don't get it that it's MY MONEY and I have a God-given right to decide how I want to spend it.






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 03-13-2006, 14:15 Post: 126044
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Can't buy any more I am surrounded my National Forest and that is what makes mine so unique. No chance of having a neighbor.






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 03-13-2006, 14:18 Post: 126048
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I asked my Asser once, Hey you are telling me what my property is worth and I have to pay taxes on that assessment so if I can't sell it for that HIGH number you claim it is worth, do I get a Tax Refund? It was a very loud NO! and I was annoying them... Weird how even the people who pay taxes if they become a part of the system how they so quickly turn against us as if we are the weird ones....... Like a School Board Memeber.....






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