Sunday, December 11, 2005

Housing Assessments Continue To Rise

The WaPo reports on the continuous rise in house assessments, and what local governments plan to do about it... The Low Down: Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, this week proposed cutting 9.5 cents from the current rate of $1.02 per $100 of assessed value, which would shave about $400 off taxes for the owner of a $400,000 home Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly says :Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) said he would "absolutely" push for tax relief, although he is not sure the board can duplicate the 13-cent cut (from $1.13 to $1) it passed this year. Any tax relief would have to be measured against increasing costs. Prince William County Board Chairman Sean T. Connaughton says:the board could approve a cut of as much as 17 cents, which would take the tax rate from 91 to 74 cents. Connaughton said Prince William residents can expect as much as a 25 percent boost in assessments. That means the average home valued at $327,433 could be worth $409,291. Without a cut in the 91-cent tax rate, the bill would grow from $2,979.64 to $3,724.55. 9.5cents...maybe 13cents...and 17 cents.... Looks like out of the three largest metro-counties, that PWC Chairman Connaughton looks to cut the most...to help the taxpayer.

18 Comments:

At 12/11/2005 05:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connaughton continues to lowe taxes-TAKE THAT JIM YOUNG!!

 
At 12/11/2005 07:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure thats lower taxes unless he offsets the tax increase and then some ...

 
At 12/11/2005 07:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grasshopper -

If cutting the rate in the face of rising assessments is a tax increase, and raising the rate in the face of falling assessments is also a tax increase, can one get credit for lowering taxes when lowering rates?

 
At 12/11/2005 09:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup- and I said it there .... when the rate cut offsets the tax increase, thus the county government would not be pulling in more money- revenue neutral scheme ... or it could lower it below the offset, bring in less money and then cut spending (for once in PWC) -tax cut

 
At 12/11/2005 09:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

York County assessments - up 1200%. Yes, that's right one thousand two hundred percent.


Oh, and when PWC can get its students out of trailers THEN they can lower the tax rate. Until then, they clearly don't have enough money.

(Of course, they could divert quite a bit of current monies to the schools to get the backlog built, but at least they are catching up on the mess of the 1980s and 1990s.)

And why should PWC be revenue neutral? Health care costs for employees went up. Shouldn't salaries go up a little? What about the fire stations that need to be built but haven't been? What about all the kids in trailers? What about the roads? What about the need for more police officers? If PWC, or any other county, is revenue neutral, then none of the above can happen.

 
At 12/11/2005 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous davis4president said...

all I have to say is=CONNAUGHTON FOR VICE-PRESIDENT!!!!!!

 
At 12/11/2005 10:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm ... that 1200% cannot be correct if you are referring to the increased assesment of an individual's house value ... a $300,000 house in York must be worth over $3 million if your claim is correct.

I'm not sure any amount of money would really statisfy your concerns ... a slight increase for inflation and mandatory increases, sure ... but not increasing at the rate the PWC has been in recent years.

 
At 12/11/2005 11:12:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Where I live in Fauquier County assessments are only done every four years. It just so happens assessments were done in 2005 for starting the 2006 tax year. My home's assessment went up 78% or close to 20% per year. For my taxes to remain about the same with a modest increase, that would take a 35 cent reduction in the rate.

This whole "assessment" thing is a game as it allows county supervisors to raise taxes in large percentages while still claiming to have cut people's taxes by reducing the "rates".

Until counties move to the California model and base tax assessments on actual sale values or assessments during refi's the BoS's will continue to be able to duck the political responsibility for their runaway tax increases.

 
At 12/11/2005 11:27:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

If you read the above numbers, Connaughton does want to help lower the tax burden...not just "claim to lower tax-rates".

Lets let people have a chance to follow through on their promises before we demonize their intentions.

 
At 12/12/2005 09:34:00 AM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

I have never understood how elected officials are expected to influence valuations (unless they really screw up and make the community so hellish to live in that they drive down property values - it has happened in some unfortunate communities). PW is a booming success story. That is largely a good thing, but it has some annoying side effects. \one of those is that the value of homes has increased (both existing homes and the average price of new homes added to the tax base). Generally, I am more excited about the increase in value of my home (which has gone up by hundreds of thousands) than in the increase in my tax bill (which has gone up by hundreds). But there are a few people who are watching the hundreds column with great agitation. I'm sure it would be nice to get away from taxing unrealized gains on home values, but I never hear anyone who complains about the impact of increased housing values talk about how we should move to income (or even sales) taxes to replace the revenue stream for schools etc. if we were to trash the real estate tax.

 
At 12/12/2005 09:39:00 AM, Anonymous MOM said...

It's all smoke, mirrors and posturing until the assessments are completed, the average increase in value calculated and the draft budget drawn up.

At this stage of the game, elected officials can state anything with minimal risk as the numbers and priorities are subject to change.

Then again, perhaps this is a calculated positioning that comes as a response to criticism of his past representations of "tax cuts" as it is certainly more in line with "reasonable" increases in the actual taxes paid to cover increases in the operating costs of the county. That is unless, they bring the assessed values up to the market values seen over the summer, in which case the whole scenario goes to hell and in my case would increase my actual tax paid by 36%.

 
At 12/12/2005 09:50:00 AM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

TC, not sure if that comment was meant for me as I did not mention Connaughton. However, my experience at least in FFX county in the recent past (I will find out very soon in Fauquier) was that this assessment game was a great cash cow for the BoS. It enabled the supervisors to increase revenues at double-digit rates while still claiming they were "lowering taxes".

As for giving elected officials a chance: property values have been steadily increasing in these counties for going on 7 years now. How many chances do they deserve? Even if members of BoS who want to actually lower taxes feel they cannot oppose rate decreases that aren't big enough in fear that then there will be no decrease at all, why are they not at least proposing decreases that would actually limit revenue growth to a reasonable level, and then making it known via the bully pulpit that the counties are continuing to pillage the taxpayers?

They could also be recommending real changes to the revenue and assessment system in order to end this game as I suggested in my previous post. The idea of a business vs. residential rate as expressed above in another thread is a good one. Where I live we have a separate farm vs. residential rate. Seems like a logical conclusion to me to do the same for business. This combined with assessments based on actual sale prices would put the responsibility for tax increases or reductions solely on the local elected officials, where it should be, and would protect those who are long term residents/business owners while putting the burden of growth on new development and those coming into the county. It would also btw encourage people to keep up their existing neighborhoods rather than buying just to move to new neighborhoods.

 
At 12/12/2005 01:02:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

Two quick items on this:

1. My wife and I just got a check for over $300 back from our mortgage company for overpayment into our escrow account because the tax rate reduction also reduced the amount of property tax that we owed to the county. That's right, in PWC, my wife and I are paying LESS in 2005 in real dollars than we had to pay in 2004.

2. The Washington Times has a great article in today's paper on how the real reason behind the skyrocketing home prices in our area is due to regulation. http://www.washingtontimes.com/business/20051212-121002-6605r.htm

 
At 12/12/2005 01:30:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Riley, That's great news!

I suspect however you are in a minority. Are you sure it was an actual dollar reduction from last years taxes, or was the mortgage company collecting based on the new assessment and old tax rate, then when the tax rate was reduced, realized they were overcollecting????

 
At 12/12/2005 09:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My taxes went down too. Maybe you guys should check your facts before you spout trash.

 
At 12/12/2005 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

Yes, we compared the amount we paid last year to the amount we paid this year. Even though our home value increased by double-digits again this year, the rate reduction translated into an actual decrease in the amount owed.

 
At 12/13/2005 09:50:00 AM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Anon, If you think I was spouting trash, you live in an alternate universe. It's pretty clear that in recent years taxes have been increasing at confiscatory rates, but I am glad to see at least in PWC it appears there may be some common sense. Perhaps the BoS there are hearing the outcries.

 
At 12/13/2005 11:21:00 AM, Anonymous MOM said...

Is it common sense of political expediency? Don't know that I would like my odds if I ran for re-election after having consistently raised the bottom line. I believe its more an issue of survival than common sense or fiscal responsibility, but then I'm jaded and don't believe the BOCS does anything that benefits the residents unless it also benefits their future.

 

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