The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Feb 10, 2008

Lightning in a Bottle - Or at Least a Bottleneck

Senator Boitano's Tax Lightening Bill passed the State Senate Thursday by a significant margin. This is the bill that extends the current 3% cap on assessed property value to buyers of properties. The bill now heads to the house and faces the standard two committee gauntlet before it will be heard on the House floor.

If you haven't heard by now many Bernalillo County property owners were struck by the state's tax lightning - some to the tune of as much as 400%. Senator Boitano's bill would cap the increase at 3% and lower assessed values to 2004 levels. The objective is to make sure that two property owners in the same subdivision in houses that may be identical and even right next door to each other are paying similar amounts in property taxes (ABQ Journal - Subscription).

Our Eyes told us about one case where the property taxes went from $1,900 a year to $8,000 a year. That's more than a 400% increase making the monthly property tax bill $667 a month an increase of $408 a month. Unfortunately, large increases aren't uncommon and tend to hurt older property owners on a fixed income the most -their move to a smaller home to save money and effort only results in being struck by "tax lightning."

These tax inequities are particularly pronounced in the older areas of the city where homeowners can be and often are the original owners. The result is that one neighbor is often paying 2, 3, 4 hundred percent more than the other for the same services.

We've long maintained that the best tax policy is one that is wide (spread out over the maximum number of people) and shallow. The result is a revenue stream for the state that doesn't punish achievement and is less susceptible to the natural cycle of the economy; most people call that stability.

Right now just about every county and every municipality in the state is facing budget shortfalls due to the correction in our economy. Unfortunately, almost every governmental entity has been spending the largess of the last eight years like drunken sailors. Even more distressing is that they've been spending our cash on new programs that will require on-going taxpayer support.
A perfect example of this short sighted party like it's 1999 spending is the Rail Runner that is projected to cost you and me $20 MILLION a year just to keep the trains running, even if they're not on time!
(End Sidebar)
SB 450 does something that we haven't seen in quite a while; it imposes restrictions on spending by disallowing egregious jumps in assessed values maintaining taxpayer equity and tax predictability.

So who doesn't want this type of sensible tax legislation - just about every governmental entity that relies on property taxes for a large portion of its revenue. Can you say the City of Albuquerque?

The only way to reduce government spending and stop our spiraling tax burden is to restrict the amount of money going into the system. Legislators will be forced to create priorities for spending not just new programs for our tax dollars.

SB 450 is a step in the right direction. If you'd like to help move this legislation through committee contact one or all of the legislators listed below. The first hearing is Tuesday in the House and Government Affairs Committee - then it will move on to the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.

The problem is time. The Session ends Thursday and getting it through committee in a couple of days will be difficult to say the least. You can help it along simply by letting the committee members know that you want the bill heard on the House floor.

Representative Edward C. Sandoval Chair Democrat

Representative Roberto "Bobby" J.Gonzales Vice Chair Democrat

Representative Janice E. Arnold-Jones Member Republican

Representative Ernest H. Chavez Member Democrat

Representative Nathan P. Cote Member Democrat

Representative Anna M. Crook Member Republican

Representative Keith J. Gardner Member Republican

Representative William J. Gray Member Republican

Representative George J. Hanosh Member Democrat

Representative Ben Lujan Member Democrat

Representative Rodolpho "Rudy" S. Martinez Member Democrat

Representative Andy Nuñez Member Democrat

Representative Daniel P. Silva Member Democrat

Representative James R.J. Strickler Member Republican

Representative Thomas C. Taylor Member Republican

Representative Richard D. Vigil Member Democrat

----- Post Script -----
We received a comment that greatly concerns us. It's the first comment below. The poster argues that somehow it's OK for someone to have a 400% increase in taxes simply because the taxpayer may own a more expensive property than others.

Fairness is a value and a virtue that must apply equally to everyone or it ceases to exist. There is no such thing as being "more fair" even though society is replete with examples of government attempting to do so. Affirmative Action, admission quotas, and "progressive" taxation are all examples of society attempting to be "more fair."

The truth is that creating a system that favors one individual over another is by definition unfair, discriminatory, and just plain wrong - whether or not the favored individual is in the minority, majority, poor, or filthy rich.

As a community and as a nation it's long past time we get past this idea that being fair somehow requires us to be "more fair" to one group and "less fair" to another. When we finally understand and implement that concept we will truly have thrown off the shackles of our past.


Anonymous said...

The Eye's "facts" provide the best argument against this legislation. An $8000 tax bill in Albuquerque extrapolates to a $700,000 market value home. What subdivision is that? Oxbow? High Desert? Just what we need, tax relief for millionaires. How about going after the real abuses in the system. Six hundred and forty acres of Westland/SunCal "agricultural" land has a tax bill of $27.00. A 3 acre commercially zoned lot on Coors, proposed site for a west side Jinja restaurant, has a tax bill of $0.

Anonymous said...

Illogical argument above for one very simple reason; if I am about to ''ladder up'' and sell a home to buy a bigger one I will think twice about it due to a vastly increasing tax bill. If a thousand people do that (a reasonable number for our town) then we create local recession in housing. Think it's only "millionaires" who buy homes like that? How about people who worked very hard to trade up every decade and spent the last 40 years getting into a position where they could have a dream home. Adding an extra $500 a month to my tax bill will keep me from buying it, thus putting framers, plumbers, electricians, title co. staffers and eventually even some of the assessors staff out of jobs.
People that have no grasp of capitalism really ought to read a finance textbook or two.

Anonymous said...

I sent my letter. Here is the group of those emails to make it easier for all of you to copy, paste, write and send. Don't delay!,,,,,,,,,,, ErnestC1531, JEArnoldJones,

Anonymous said...

The first 2 posters are both right.

There are generations of families that own much of the south valley open land. They don't want there taxes going up ever, especially if they're planning on selling the land to a Wal-Mart or such.

I do agree with tax breaks for businesses that will benefit the citizens and economy, but $0 to $27 reeks of coruption. Not that that ever happens!

I don't know much about recession, but the second poster is right. I wouldn't ever sell my house, and upgrade, if my taxes would go up 400%.

This is a tough argument!

Anonymous said...

You don't even have to sell your house to get hit by the tax lightning bolt. Just do a refi on your current home (one that presumably been in for several years) and when the County gets wind of it, voila....your home is now "worth" the new appraised value and you get to reap the rewards of home-ownership appreciation by paying taxes on the "new" value. What fun!!!

Anonymous said...