Taxing more to spend more
This is a follow-up to a letter that I wrote in 2008 regarding out-of-control real estate taxes. I own an undeveloped 35-acre lot in Basalt, where I saw my taxes go from $5,700 in 2007 to $10,233 in 2008. This was an increase of 80 percent, as my property value almost doubled. I take exception to Jon Peacock, county manager, stating this week that “during the ups and downs of valuations, our collections have been steady.”
I also question Commissioner Rachel Richards’ comment that “no one asks for 26 percent less snowplowing because their property values went down.” I did not ask for 80 percent more snowplowing when my taxes went up that amount in one year. As an out-of-state owner, I know that I do not need the snowplowing but am always willing to pay my fair share of services provided for others and maybe someday for myself, also.
This is a pervasive problem at every level of government as they prepare us for only a little reduction in real estate taxes coming with the new, much lower assessments. Taxes always go up, but then there are many reasons why they can’t go down. Once spending reaches higher levels, there are always excuses why they cannot come down.
I own a third-generation family business that has seen our business contract greatly over the past three years. I have cut expenses, deferred improvements and sometimes have to resort to reducing my payroll in order to survive as a company. Somehow, all levels of government seem to feel that they are immune to the pain that the rest of us are feeling and run “business as usual” by continuing to operate as if we were still in the boom times as our economy and citizens struggle.
I say rather than the government mantra of raising taxes, excessive government spending and keeping high levels of all aspects of taxation, maybe it is time for local, county, state, and the federal government to actually think about reducing their budgets. Then finally it would be less of a burden on all citizens – rich, middle class and poor. Then maybe we could all work together to improve our economy and feel good about the direction in which our country is moving.
Harrington Park, N.J.
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