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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Our Property Tax Pain---Part Two

As indicated in our last post, we have brought the facts of the unfair application of the Property Tax collection process to the attention of the Weber County Commission. We have also asked Gage Froerer our State Representative and Allen Christensen our State Senator to weigh in.

We have contacted Governor Huntsman’s office and been referred to the Utah State Tax Committee on this matter. We feel it is ironic that the Governor is talking about cutbacks and job layoffs when all this uncollected and delinquent money is out there ($100 Million in Utah, Salt Lake, Davis and Weber Counties alone) waiting to be collected.

We can report that the Weber County Commission is investigating and has found that about $14 million is owed in Weber County in delinquent property taxes as of this date.

Simply stated, the current property tax collection process used by Weber County and other Utah counties, has provided a loophole for some business and developer property owners who choose to use it to avoid paying their yearly property taxes for up to almost 5 years before sale or foreclosure. During this time period of non payment, they are assessed only a 2% penalty and about 6.5% interest. In effect, this a low cost loan courtesy of the County and State (which really means the rest of us taxpayers).

We, the other taxpayers meanwhile provide the money for the State and County services when we pay our property taxes on time every year.

We have suggested to Gage Froerer and Allen Christensen that they sponsor a bill to increase the penalty to 10% and the interest to 18%. (California’s current rates) to encourage these delinquent taxpayers to pay on time, and that change could put millions of dollars back into the tax cash flow for the County and State. This additional influx of usable tax funds could delay new tax increases and in the long term, possibly reduce future property taxes.

This penalty and interest change would ONLY affect delinquent taxpayers and would not change the property tax appeal process or the County Commissioner’s ability to rule on waivers or appeals as they do now.

The intent of this change is to target the elite, mostly large landowners and businesses that exploit this tax loophole to avoid taxes until the last moment and thus place the tax burden on the rest of us.

One final point, if this current collection process is such a good deal for the counties and State as some have said, and the taxes are always paid in the end, why doesn't the Governor and all of our political leaders go before the public and encourage them to use this same tax loophole? If it is a good thing for the large property and business owners, why is it not good enough for the rest of us to defer our property taxes for more than four years?

We remind you that this tax issue affects all Weber County and Utah property taxpayers and we encourage you to write or call our leaders at the County and State levels. As long as this current collection process remains unchanged, you, the on time taxpayers will be paying the upfront tab.

Larry and Sharon Zini

Contact Numbers:
Governor Huntsman: 801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464

Allen Christensen, State Senator:

Gage Froerer, State Representative:

Weber County Commissioners: 801-399-8406


Squirt said...

Wow! right on. I am outraged that these tax dodgers get away with this when we pay our property taxes every year on time!

This is a big deal, no matter what anyone in our State and County governments say.

How long has this been the process? How much has this cost all of us that pay on time? The current Commissioners and State reps have nowhere to hide. Whey haven't they ended this sweetheart deal before now?

Truth Seeker said...

"Squirt"...Larry and Sharon,

"How long has this been the process? How much has this cost all of us that pay on time? The current Commissioners and State reps have nowhere to hide. Why haven't they ended this sweetheart deal before now?"

Good questions.

Because of what that "Minor Machman" has been trying to tell you for almost two years now.

It is because of the Utah Realtor Association (and Developer - one in the same) lobby. And it is not in their "best interests" to support legislation which would end their "sweetheart deal", one of many by the way.

Do not hold your breath while your "honorable and highly ethical" legislators actually vote for such a Bill. But you can definitely expect more "grandstanding". Froerer, Waddoups the new Senate President, Harper, Niederhauser, Valentine, Greg Bell, Barrus, Buxton, David Clark the New Speaker of the House, Draxler, Herrod, Hughes, Christine Johnson, Morley, Ray, Snow, and their cronies...all Realtors/Developers, or heavily involved with them, are heavily paid "campaign finance donations" by the URA and its thinly disguised political action committees.

While the Zini's efforts are noble and what honest residents are supposed to do, these efforts will ultimately be stalled and rejected by these above mentioned legislators and their cronies. There is one-hundred million dollars at stake, making it worth the paultry $100,000 it takes the Utah Realtor Association and its PACs to bribe these corrupt (or ignorant) legislators.

If only this were "America". And if only we had an Attorney General with the balls to investigate and prosecute the URA for corruption and racketeering it would go a very long way toward reestablishing trust and confidence in Utah State Government.

Larry and Sharon said...

Let's all pull together on this issue. We can address the other issues once we get this one changed. There is no doubt that the sloppy way that the taxes are handled can be improved both at the County level and State level. Write your elected officials and put the pressure on!

Dale Carnegie said...

Truth seeker:

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.. and most fools do." -- Dale Carnegie

Pistol Pete said...

It is clear there is no denial or dispute with the money involved or how this loophole is being used by some to avoid paying their taxes on time.

If the good folks in Weber County and the rest of Utah don't get involved on this issue, there will be no hope with these political leaders on any issue.

Get off your rear ends and let them hear from you.