[Regarding “Commissioners Consider Equity Through Reparations, Property Taxes,” July 27, Xpress:] The math is easy. If the assessed value of your home goes up 10%, then the amount of tax dollars you actually pay will also go up 10% — unless the governing body lowers the rate at which you are taxed by the same 10%. If that happens, then the new assessments are “revenue neutral,” in that the actual tax dollars you pay before and after the assessment will not change.
If assessments went down, then the rate would be raised so that the amount of tax dollars paid out by citizens would remain the same.
That is what happens in an ideal world. In the real world, these higher assessments result in you paying more tax because the governing body does not lower the rate of taxation enough so that your taxes stay the same. This is “free money” for them as they boldly say, “Your tax rate will not go up!” That is true, but your taxes go up. The amount you pay goes up, and that just gets schmoozed into the budget and no one complains.
You should complain. If a new budget is not “revenue neutral” by lowering the rate of taxation the appropriate amount, then you are slapped with a tax increase from your blind side. They get more money — and they spend more money, and it keeps going that way unless the public insists on revenue-neutral assessments so they don’t automatically get free money. Then let them defend any tax increases in a transparent manner that people can understand and provide the public input that is appropriate.
— Stephen Schulte