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Thursday, February 12, 2009

HB246 Out of Committee in Legislature

Good news on the bill HB 246 from Gage Froerer. Last year, he could not get this bill out of committee. This would be a big deal for those that were forced by zoning to buy larger lots in Ogden Valley, but could not claim the 45% residential execempton beyond one acre. All residents should consider supporting this bill. If it passes, it may be the first step towards significant property tax reductions in Ogden Valley.

It is time to support the first real opportunity to lower property taxes in a long time. In addition, Gage Froerer is writing a bill on delinquent property taxes as well. If we could get behind that bill HB 418, and get it passed,
most taxpayers will find it worthwhile to pay their taxes on time including the chronic delinquent tax payers.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Editors Note: 2/12/2009 @ 10:50 PM:
While we scooped all of the Print press, the Salt Lake Tribune was not far behind. Be sure to read their related article here.


Does not sound like a "scoup" to me... said...

Salt Lake County Assessor Lee Gardiner illustrated how HB246 would affect Holladay.

"They rezoned 130 lots to a two-acre minimum," Gardiner said. With the city's high land values, assessing under the current system adds up to $43 million.

Under HB246, Gardiner said those properties would be taxed at about $20 million in value.

"Implementation of this bill means a tax shift," said Brent Gardner, executive director of the Utah Association of Counties.

"You'll shift Grandma Jones's tax to Grandma Smith."

Valley said...


Function: transitive verb

4: beat - scooped the rival newspaper

Machster said...

When the County budget calls for $130 Million and all the unaware residential property owners with one acre or less in Ogden Valley (and all of District 8 at a minimum) discover their "assessed values" suddenly increased (even though actual market values have decreased by some 40% or more) due to "Froerer's Folly" there will be much gnashing of teeth and much outrage. That is if "Froerer's Folly" actually somehow passes in the House and then in the Senate.

The answer is to FIX THE PROBLEM and not try to apply inappropriate bandaids to the symptoms.

Here is the problem as stated recently to the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee, on 16 Dec. 2008:

"Agenda Item # 8
Clark Richardson background: Full-time commercial real estate appraiser for 24 YEARS. Experience includes 18 years as a fee appraiser and 6 years as a real estate collateral reviewer for Zions First National Bank and Wells Fargo (current). Have studied the relationship of county assessments and market value over that time, including several formal studies.


1. County assessments have very rarely approximated actual market value in the past, they don't now, and they won't in the future. The government has no meaningful capacity to determine a proper market value estimate, nor should it try. "The beginning of wisdom is to call comething by its proper name." We can begin our quest for wisdom by ceasing to call government assessments " fair market value". They are not.

2. The assessed values are in very inconsistent ratios to market value estimates among different properties, resulting in unfair treatment of property tax payment among all citizens year in and year out. The result is some pay more than their share, some pay less.

- See assessment vs. market value comparison chart handout.

3. A system that treats citizens unfairly in relation to each other is the wrong system and must be changed. Government (sic Public Servants) have an obligation to correct the system proactively on moral grounds, recognizing that those who pay less than their share rarely (ever?) complain to government. Leaders (sic Public servants) therefore need to be more moral than many of the people they lead. "Do unto others as you would have (fair people) do unto you" is the best foundation for policy making as well as personal action.

4. I propose a paradigm shift where property taxes are done away with so that citizeens can genuinely own property when they buy it, and shift to point-of-sale taxes for property and other goods. A strong or weak economy is taken account of in this case. Government should not always be able to "get theirs" no matter what the economy is doing.

5. If No. 4 is not accepted, there are at least objective ways to assign county assessment to real estate property that should be explored and implemented. A government that utilizes a subjective methodology as is currently in place in Utah is guaranteed to be unfair in the taxes it extracts from citizens. Objective ways for residential property taxation include basing assessment on square footage only, or a flat fee for all residential homes regardless of size."

And of course there is what most States have gone too, purchase price or "acquisition value" assessments.

Every member of the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee knows this. They have heard many acknowledged nationally recognized experts testify to what is wrong with the current "fair market value" nonsense. The same "nonsense" they once practiced under the banner "Truth in Taxation". But no longer as the other States have seen the same problems we now struggle with...inaccuracy of "fair Market value" assessments.

Yet our legislators continue to use minority groups (as in this case landowners who have been screwed by the County ordnances) to "divide and conquer". Thus continuing to defer, delay, and do nothing while their constituents continue to suffer and plea for relief. It has been so since 2007 when our Representative continually posted URA anti Prop 13 propaganda on this website, while at the same time pretending to hold serious public meetings. This is very insincere and disgusting behavior.

The problem is as stated above by Mr. Richardson. The solution, while it might seem just to the few, is a travasty to the majority, as it merely tranfers/shifts property tax burdens onto the unsuspecting one acre or less residents of every County in Utah. In Weber County's case it will be significant in District 8.

People this is no solution. It is abusing constituents by using them inappropriately.

Hard Facts... said...

Quote from Salt Lake Tribune article:

"People who live in homes on lots exceeding one acre stand to benefit from a property tax measure sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville.

At the same time, HB246 likely means redistributing the tax burden to those with less land."

The Viking said...

Hard Facts, that is a simplistic answer that flies out of the mouth of those that like it just the way it is. If they collected the 100 million dollars in delinquent taxes already owed by the fat cats around Utah, it might cover much of any change in tax burdens. If you took $100 million and spread that around to 78 counties, it would add $1.28 million to each County collection. But who would want that?

One thing has become apparent since this has become public knowledge, is County and State minions that are responsible for how this works now, don't even want to hear about any change that may be more fair to the average taxpayer. They like the fact that these fat cats get away with delinquent taxes every year because to change the process would mean that many who pay their taxes on time would start to understand they have been shafted for years! This tax loophole has been going on since before any present office holder was elected.

Pistol Pete said...

"Scoup" As usual, some don't get all the facts. The bill has a 6 acre limit for the tax exemption. That means that large property owners will not benefit or will they shift the taxes to anyone else with this bill. It would be instructive for our state and county employees such as Assessors to read the bills before their knee jerk reactions.

So what if the tax assessments were lowered? The County Assessors think it is a god mandated right to keep collecting high property taxes inflated by silly, zoning rules that hurt all taxpayers. If you wonder why your taxes never go down no matter what your property value drops to, you only need to read Mr. Gardnier's opinion.

Hard Facts said...

Hey Viking and Pistol Pete,

It would be helpful if you guys would actually read and understand Utah "Truth in Taxation" law.

If property tax collections decrease, due to devalued properties or economic hard times during which your property tax "fair market value" assessment goes down, or if for example Froerer's Folly should actually pass... And I don't think it has a snowball's chance in Hell, then the County simply INCREASES the certified tax rate (or mil levy) so that they collect the same amounts or more. In Weber County, the worst in Utah historically for fraudulent behavior and the highest taxes, the 3 Commissioners collude with the Assessor (Cheryl Madson) to arrive at the total budget amount needed to satisfy their spending habits. And they hit the mark of last years's budget, plus 19+% (or just slightly under 20%), to evade the scrutiny of the State Tax Commission and its audits. The past decade we have seen the State Tax Commission actually cooperating with the Counties, to help them extract as much as the State laws allow! Simply amazing! We do not have ANY (or VERY damn few) at the State level representing us as Public Servants sent to represent us...they instead think they are entitled "Leadership". Don't believe it go the the Capital and hang out for a week or three and pay attention.

So if "Froerer's Folly" passes, having nothing to do with the separate delinquent property taxes increased penalties bill by the way. Then the County will simply INCREASE your tax rate to make up for the one hundred million in lost county revenues. You can take that to the bank since that is the law of the State. And thish continues to be THE PROBLEM.

There are 29, not 78 Counties in Utah by the way.

Lee Gardner, is the County Tax Assessor of the largest county in Utah, Salt Lake County. He tells it like it is and totally understands the system since he has been charged with collecting property taxes for many years.

His bio is:
"LEE GARDNER has been a resident of Salt Lake City for more than seventeen years and is currently living in a cottage bungalow near the University of Utah. Lee graduated from Brigham Young University and received his MBA from Texas A & M International University. He also attended the University of Utah for additional graduate work. Lee served six years in the Army achieving the rank of Captain.

Lee is a Certified General Appraiser (highest category in the state certification system), and a Designated Ad Valorem Appraiser through the Utah State Tax Commission. Lee has significant private sector appraisal experience both in Utah and California, and managed a major industrial park in southern Oregon. Lee has served as the past president and Legislative Chair of the Utah Association of Assessors, and was honored as the Property Tax Administrator of the Year by the Utah Chapter of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAA0), and later serving as it’s president.

Lee has reduced the inequity of property owners paying more than their fair share of property taxes by appraising all properties at the same time. In addition, he instituted a process known as “informal review” which gives taxpayers the opportunity to meet directly with staff to avoid the difficulties of the formal appeals process to correct errors in property characteristics and to discuss valuation issues. He has also saved county taxpayers millions of dollars by returning motor vehicle registration back to the state and preventing the Tax Commission from unfairly distributing taxes from trucking companies to other counties. Lee continues to encourage his staff to assist the elderly, as well as others who need help, through the appeals process."

He is totally correct when he says "Forerer's Folly" will result in "shifting tax burdens from Grand ma Jone's to Grand ma Smith." That is the current State "Truth in Taxation" law.

Hope you get this and understand it. Bills which penalize the majority for the benefit of the few are seldom, if ever, good public policy.

Oh, and by the way, I live on a three acre lot in the Ogden Valley. It is very wrong for us to want to pass along our property tax responsibilities for more than one acre to our neighbors who have one acre or less. Always has been and always will be. And that is why it will never least I hope not.

We need serious property tax reform not Froerer's small minded patchwork and bandaid bills designed to delay and deflect attention from what is blatantly obvious.

Squirt said...

Hard Facts, you just don't get it or you do get it and like the system the way it is for your own reasons. If the 100 million in delinquent taxes is collected, and HB23 is passed (another bill by Hunsiker), the county and state must then account for the delinquent money collected late.

They don't have to do that now and they never have. So while most of the delinquent money was collected over a four or five year span, it never showed up as credited to the county coffers as the delinquent tax money. Therefore, they were allowed to to BUDGET as if the money was NEVER collected and that is what results in higher and higher property taxes.

Now just imagine if the penalty and interest was high enough so the $9million dollars that is delinquent in Weber County from last November, was paid on time. The County and State would have a hard time raising the mill rate in the public sector. That is what open government is supposed to be about, not about tax loopholes for the rich.

I live in Ogden Valley too, and I know that most of us resent the hell out of the fact that when we pay our taxes on November 30th, about $9-10 million dollars in taxes are not going to be paid by the chosen few, maybe for years.

And your hero Gardiner,he is a tax Assessor that does not want anyone looking into his records or his people to be held accountable for this mess. Ask yourself why none of the county Assessors go after the scofflaws that double dip on the primary residential exemption? They do not want to identify these people because then the question will be how long has this been going on and why is the Assessors office been asleep? They have the same reasoning for the delinquent property tax fiasco.
People like Gardiner are part of the problem, they like the status quo and apparently so do you. We never hear people like Gardiner say " This is terrible to have so much in delinquent taxes out there, how unfair this has been to all the other taxpayers in Utah". You won't hear that either because he is cheek by jowl with the established practice of looking out for the very rich and not the average taxpayer.

Think about this, if this was not a good deal for these tax scofflaws that exploit this loophole there would not be over $100 million owed in just four counties in this state. Probably $130-140 million if you just include Summit and Washington County.

Hard Facts said...


What we have here is a failure to communicate.

I never expressed anything except support for the Delinquent Tax Collection Bill (HB 418). Get it yet? I am very supportive of the Delinquent Property Tax Collection Bill!!! And, assuming you are correct about these thieves at the County level not having to account for late collected property taxes, that is an outrage! So I also support HB 23.

Now if that "Squirt" mind of yours can shift gears and not confuse the 45% primary residential exemption extension bill (HB 246) which I do not support, with the Delinquent Property Tax Bill, (HB 418) which I do support. And now HB 23, Late Tax Collections Accountability. It would help considerably!

Once again "Squirt", I support HB 418...the Delinquent Property Tax bill and totally understand all of its benefits to the community at large.

Please try to get the "Facts Straight" before you go off half cocked and blather like a buffoon embarrassing yourself.

Gardner, the long time Salt Lake County Tax Assessor, knows and understands all the ramifications of the current "Truth in Taxation" Property Tax system. He has lived it and on several occasions has spoken out against it at the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee meetings I have attended as a citizen, as the Assessor for Utah County also has.

We hear nothing from Weber County...and we most all agree why. They are, as has been already said, completely comfortable with the way they have manipulated the system to screw over as many people as possible at every bend and turn. And that is why they all must be turned out of office...from top to bottom.

And that is why the "Truth in Taxation" statutes in State Law desperately need to be changed from the false "fair market value" assessment.

I have no "hero's" except those who tell the truth and do not try to pound smoke up our asses. You seem to be one of the latter unwittingly. Read man! Read and comprehend. Vent your spleen on those who are using you inappropriately. Not on those who agree with you for crying out loud!

Coach Sloan said...

Hard facts said, "And that is why the "Truth in Taxation" statutes in State Law desperately need to be changed from the false "fair market value" assessment."

Well, no shit. But do you think there is a "Snowballs chance in Hell" of it happening this year with the current legislature? While the make up of the legislature may be slightly diluted from last year, your real estate brethren will prevail by not making the necessary changes.

Does that mean we should bet the farm on a complete overhaul this year, or should we accept some small victories in hopes of living to fight again next year. This session will be over before we know it.

Some seem content to bitch about the efforts of others, but are not willing to get or stay involved. Instead they cherry pick from the sidelines lobbing bombs when they can.

Have you thought about running for the position of State representative?

Casesare said...

Such passion from Hard Facts. It is good to hear now. All we heard from you before is ridicule and sarcasm. Why don't you just focus on the early steps that some are trying to accomplish? Before you walk you must crawl, and while a couple of these efforts may be small steps, we are not a in position to get everything accomplished at one time. (thank you Coach Sloan) This present County and State leadership has built this system to withstand criticism with their "wall of silence". We need to hammer them in public over and over again until we see some compassion for doing the right thing.

BTW, my interpretation is HB 246 will not work in every area. Only those areas that have ordinances that force homeowners to buy specific sized parcels are affected so this is not a windfall all over the State.

Skeets said...

Hard Facts, try to get informed. Assessor Gardiner is part of the Association of Counties which oppose any attempt to reform property taxes. Our Weber County has 3 members in that Association as well. If you read this Associaton positions, you will see they oppose all efforts to change the very biased system we are talking about.

The 800 pound Gorilla in the room, is these politicians keep this property tax collection process the way it is to provide a special shelter loohole for large businesses, builders, and developers which has become the favorite charity for the Counties and State. The problem is, they do this on the back of most other taxpayers every November 30th.

Think about this, why is it that the State, the Counties and towns who are always in our pocket with more taxes, but when it is pointed out millions of dollars already owed are out there that could impact the jobs and layoffs, they spend hours trying to tell you why we SHOULD NOT collect that money!

Hard Facts said...


At least a few readers on this blog are beginning to see the political corruption and understand who and what is behind it.

Guess these several years of trying to get the word out are finally beginning to take hold.



Caesare said...

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little” - Sydney Smith

We all should keep that in mind.