Governor to Propose Reduction in Property Taxes

by jhwygirl

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has promised there will be no statewide increase in property taxes as a result of the reappraisal. The details of that plan have not been released.

Department of Revenue Director Dan Bucks says that “so far the agency has found no evidence prices are dropping on a widespread basis.”

All this sounds like good news for Missoulians, since Missoula has been declared a “distressed community” (thanks JC!) and the rest of the state is weathering the mortgage meltdown fairly well.

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  1. DougCraig, of MTPolitics has a different take. I’ve commented over there.

  2. :-)

    My real problem is the cup of coffee I had at 6 p.m. today.

    I’m not a coffee drinker.

  3. petetalbot

    If jhwygirl’s source was the same as mine,
    here,
    then I’m not surprised by all the confusion. Charles Johnson’s usually succinct writing left something to be desired.

    It’s a simple question: will the current real estate bust mean lower property taxes? There certainly wasn’t a clear answer in the newspaper story.

    For example, Dub Mahler, identified as a Whitefish man following the issue said, “Some individuals’ property taxes will go up, and some will go down.” First of all, who the hell is Dub Mahler and second of all, what does that quote mean?

    I hope that this blog conversation elicits some real answers.

  4. goof houlihan

    I think it’s a clear statement. Property taxes are a complicated equation and “depends on the situation” is exactly right. Take just the reappraisal, for example. It has been phased in since the last reappraisal, which means that values now are just getting to where they were at the last reappraisal, which was several years ago, 2002 maybe.

    So there’s a time lag right now that can cause a huge difference between values now and what they were at the last reappraisal. In many places they would have gone up, even factoring in a recent pull back.

    Next there’s a homestead and commercial homestead exemption of some of the appraised value. Which property, residential or commercial, are we talking about?

    Then, there are caps on what local governments can recover from reappraisals, only half the trailing two or three year inflation rate. Has your local government been taking those, or banking them for a future date?

    and there are changes in mill levies voted on by local voters.

    There’s no blanket statewide example. Will the governor or the legislature allow an accurate current appraisal? Would they consider switching to a “historic cost” basis?

    Since schools and local governments depend on the property tax, they generally bear the brunt of political pandering over the issue.

  5. petetalbot

    Goof,

    I realize this is a complicated issue. But I think I have a valid question that wasn’t answered. My property taxes have gone up dramatically over the past decade. A lot of it has to do with bonds that have been passed in Missoula, but also the value of my home, which has increased by about 400 percent since it was purchased almost 20 years ago. Now that property values are going down in Missoula, and I assure you they are, will my house be appraised at a lower rate? Will my property taxes reflect that new appraisal?

    I’ll take all the insights I can get on this issue.

  6. goof houlihan

    Pete, I’d have to look at your tax bills to give a full analysis. However, you did notice that your appraisal has been phased in over the last years 2003-2008? So the value of your house is now, for tax purposes, at it’s 2003 appraised value. Also, during that time, a “homestead exemption” equal to 30 something percent of your appraised value has been exempt from taxes.

    What is the value of your home, now, relative to 2003? Not relative to the peak in 2005, when it was being taxed halfway between 1998 and 2003 values but may have been at it’s highest market value, but relative to 2003?

    This upcoming reappraisal is the 2003-2008 change!

  7. petetalbot

    Thanks, Goof, I think. From your explanation, I probably won’t see any serious property tax relief until somewhere between 2010 and 2013? Interesting.

    So, about the time that property values are (hopefully) rebounding, it will be about the same time my property taxes are at their lowest — at least since the turn of the century.

    I don’t want to sound like a whiner. Being the progressive fellow that I am, I figure everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. It’s just been tougher-and-tougher to make those property tax payments every six months. I’m guessing that a number of the Missoula bond issues on November’s ballot are going to go down because of this, and some of them are sorely needed.

  8. Binky Griptight

    Everytime my property values go way up, the Republican legislature and Governor seemed to lower the tax rate. So, when my property values go down, the Republican legislature will raise the tax rate.

    Silly me. That’s reverse double-fronted hinder-turning logic.

  9. You own property, Binky?

  10. Ed Childers

    OK, for all those folks who think taxes should go down, here are some helpful documents to help choose those things Missoulians don’t want.

    Will it be police? fire dept.? parks? roads? Something else? Probably only parts of larger services, let’s say maybe do less snowplowing, or less leafcleaning, or maybe less proactive effort on the part of police or fire. Anyhow, cut those taxes, but pick what the city should stop doing. Budget time is here.

    To help decide,
    Here’s some helpful information from the City’s website. I recommend Slides 21 and 22.

    Appendix B of
    this document is good, too.

  11. Ed Childers

    I can’t make links work right here. Bummer.
    Anyway, try

    ftp://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/Documents/Summary_Budget_FY2008/5Executive_Summary_Section.pdf I recommend Slides 21 and 22.

    Appendix B of
    ftp://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/Documents/Summary_Budget_FY2008/5Executive_Summary_Section.pdf this document is good, too.

  12. Ed Childers

    Oooh, it’s MAGIC!

  13. Anonymous

    Remember: MT is a non-disclosure state for home prices. This means the public has no way of knowing what the housing market is really doing and what a fair appraisal value would be. So consumers get screwed on both when the market is going up (when they pay more than they need to for a house) and when it’s going down (when they continue to pay high property taxes despite loss of market value).

    It’s time for MT to join the majority of states and disclose house prices. The market can only work when consumers have full information.

  1. 1 mtpolitics.net » Blog Archive » Logic, Sinestra Style.

    […] The headline reads:Governor to Propose Reduction in Property Taxes. […]

  2. 2 Big Sky Cairn » Blog Archive » jhwygirl always wins

    […] A dramatic reenactment of a blog conversation between Doug Craig and jhwygirl for your enjoyment. The subject has been changed to project the incoherent. “Bob turned left.” […]

  3. 3 Random Nuclear Strikes » Even kids watching Sesame Street

    […] The headline that the blogger jhwygirl wrote: Governor to Propose Reduction in Property Taxes […]




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