OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Sunday, March 26, 2006 :::

More on Local Taxes

Yet another story on how rising property assessments are hitting people where they live...literally:

Richmonders who think this year's 12 percent increase in property values was exorbitant should imagine the faces of landowners in Grayson as they learned this month that assessed values had jumped 95 percent. In Tazewell, property owners saw an increase of 45 percent. On the other side of the state in Westmoreland, the latest assessment increased property values 80 percent.

Some of these increases come from the fact that property is not re-assessed each year. And in some parts of the state, local governments will reduce -- some quite substantially -- the tax rate.

But for most, higher assessments are a revenue gold mine:

John Knapp, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and senior economist with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, said it is common for local governments to take advantage of higher property values to increase revenue.

"It's an important tax for them," Knapp said. "This is the only major tax source that the localities have that has no state limitations on it."

And whenever someone raises that issue, as both Kilgore and Kaine did in last year's gubernatorial contest, they scream bloody murder.

Still, the continuing statewide rise in assessments may tend to put a damper on the Governor's efforts to hike taxes along the lines of the Senate plan.

Because for all the talk about dedicated revenue streams for transportation, there is one fact few mention: each dedicated stream rises from the same source...your wallet. And some are close to be tapped out.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/26/2006 2 comments


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