Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It Ain't the Rates, It's the SPENDING!

Once in a while the Bloomington Pantagraph editorial folks hit one out of the park and this is one of those instances:
Despite your elected officials bragging about keeping your tax rates unchanged or even lowering them, most likely your latest tax bill is larger than your last bill.

That’s because a steady tax rate means little if the assessed value of your property has gone up — and most property in this area has steadily increased in value.
We've harped on this over and over.
If public officials really want credit for being fiscal watchdogs, they should be telling us more about how they are holding the line on spending rather than how they are keeping tax rates down.

Tax rates might be relatively steady, but the levies — the revenue that taxing bodies seek from property taxes — are going up.
And finally . . .
If increased spending is justified, just say so. But public officials shouldn’t repeat the mantra “we haven’t increased your tax rate” unless they give equal billing to what they have done with the levy.
"It's the spending, stupid."

Monday, May 14, 2007

CNN's Freudian Slip is showing

As much as Wolf Blitzer may have wanted it to be true, the caption was not accurate.

Instead, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK had announced he was retiring.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Property Tax Cap with Bite!

The county of Honolulu in Hawaii has a new property tax cap law due to go into effect on July 1.

The law will limit the residential real property tax for an owner whose income is $50,000 or less per year at 4 percent of the income. The salary ceiling applies to combined incomes if there is more than one titleholder.

While we'd like to see the income level a bit higher and indexed in some fashion, we think this at least addresses the regressive nature and the "ability to pay" issues which make property taxes inherently unfair. In fact, why limit the income at all? It is sort of self limiting anyway in that at a certain point your taxes would NEVER be more that 4 percent of your income.