Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Daily Record should think before offering its opinion on revals.

A recent Daily Record opinion piece makes a case for municipalities to conduct revaluations to account for the downturn in the economy and its impact on "market" home prices. I could not disagree more. Revaluations cost money. In the case of Washington township, the last one which took place in 2007 cost over $500K and we still haven't finished paying for it. Does the DR suggest we spend another $500K?

In cases where the housing market as a whole has changed, then for the sake of making people feel better, towns could simply lower all assessments by a certain percentage; because if an individual is complaining about the drop in market value of his or her house, chances are their neighbors all across towns can make a similar argument. This however, wouldn't change any one's tax bill. As an individual's proportional share of the overall tax assessment wouldn't change relative to everyone else's. The only way to cut tax bills is to reduce spending. A concept Republicans (like Howard Popper) love to talk about, but never deliver on. In 2006, I proposed a budget that contained a spending cut that would have led to a 5% decline in local taxes. Instead, the GOP voted 4-1 for their plan which increased spending (and taxes by 4 percent), over my descending "NO" vote. The only local governing entity that has managed to reduce spending is our non-partisan local K-8 BOE, and for this they were publicly taken to task by a hypocritical right wing zealot in the last school election.

Bottom line: The DR would be wise to think about the positions it takes before expressing them.

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