Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tax Issues

We've all seen our latest property tax valuations by now and we know that in Ada County the property assessments fell by an average of 11%. In some areas they fell as much as 20%.

We've also all seen Assessor Bob's article in the newspaper and the letter in our envelopes that basically said, "here are the assessments, now if your taxes don't go down don't blame me, blame the taxing agencies" (of which ACHD is one). And that is true.

Before yesterday I thought that ACHD commissioners were on board to reduce the tax levy by some amount to acknowledge that valuations have fallen, that home equities have fallen, that people's net worths have fallen , that people are losing their jobs and that in a dismal economy it is no time to raise taxes or tax rates. But now the prospect of a decreased property tax collection by ACHD is very uncertain.

Americans pay an awful lot of taxes. For a tax list, by no means comprehensive either, go here. In Idaho we even pay sales taxes on liquor, beer and wine taxes. (Think about it - when you buy beer you pay sales tax - the liquor tax is already in the price of the beer.) Many of these taxes go to worthy endeavors and they are always pitched on the premise that "it's just a penny more per dollar" or "it's just 2 cents more at the pump" or "it's just a few dollars more a year" or my personal favorite "it's for the chillllldren".

And those statements are true. Each tax is just a little drip. However, those little drips turn into rivers for each person when they are all added up. And with the trillions in "stimulus" and the trillions in the new budget and the trillions to bail dying companies out on a national level, we will all be paying way more than little drips in the future.

I cannot in good conscience vote for a budget that does not have some cut to the property tax and the property tax rate. For far too many years, government has reaped the benefits of rising property values to suck more and more money out of people's wallets.

The budget and the taxation that goes with it should be important to every person in Ada County. Stay tuned for when the budget hearings are in August but more importantly you need to let your voice be heard. I'll post notifications for when the budget discussions are at our meetings this summer and I'll post when the main budget hearing is.

Participate or pay.


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