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Huckleberries Online

Reader: Ward Claims Grossly Wrong

RE: Armon: Challengers' property tax claims bogus/HucksOnline

A Faithful Reader emails: “In discussions yesterday you questioned the accuracy and conflicting representations made by Paul Matthews and Todd Banducci (countered by Mic Armon) concerning NIC property taxes.  RR leader Jeff Ward responded that the levy rate had more than doubled, so the 107% increase assertion was correct.  Either he doesn't understand property taxes and the caps that limit them or he is being intentionally deceptive.  When property values fall (as they have in recent years) levy rates increase just to maintain tax charges at an even keel.  It is essentially a zero-sum process, plus the 3% increase per year, plus any foregone tax amount (as Mic Armon identified for the Ed Corridor) plus new growth at the prior year's levy rate (otherwise all new construction would get an unfair free ride and rapid growth would erode local services at a precipitous rate).  If taxable value of a property goes down from $60K with a .04 levy rate to a $40K value, the levy rate goes up .06 - but the taxes paid stay the same - plus a small annual increment.  Simply stated, 4 times 6 equals 6 times 4.  Jeff's assertions are grossly incorrect. The increase of taxes for NIC has not come close to approximating the increase in demand met by NIC during the recent recession.  It is as close to a modern-day fishes and loaves story as one could find.

DFO: I checked my tax bills from for North Idaho College from 2007 through 2011 — and I'll guarantee you that the taxes didn't double in those five years, even though thetax  rate did. I'm paying $15 more in NIC taxes today than I was in 2007. I'll discuss this more in a mini-editorial later this morning.


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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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