Time to take action
We are all understandably upset upon receiving our new property assessments. The thought of paying dramatically increased property taxes in these difficult economic times is frightening. My new assessment is up 70 percent (condo in Basalt) from two years ago. This is a statewide problem and the result could be more bankruptcies and foreclosures exacerbating struggling local and state economies and slowing economic recovery. The good news is that the new tax rates are not in effect until 2010 and there may be time to make a difference.
Do you remember that we had a similar situation two years ago when the then new assessments went up an average of 40 percent county wide? The difference then was that real estate values were booming and we were enjoying economic “good times.” Nevertheless the result in increased taxation created a “windfall” for all the local taxing districts. Many of our taxing districts are exempt from the Tabor Amendment, which requires mill levies to be adjusted to limit taxation. This doesn’t mean they can’t adjust the mill levies, it means they don’t have to. Look on your property tax bill to see who your taxes go to and contact them, urging an adjustment in their mill levy before budget time in the fall!
The other way we can make a difference is to contact state legislators to urge the passage of immediate, emergency legislation to change the state statute that dictates to county Tax assessors’ offices statewide the formula and time tables they must follow. See the blue government pages in the phone book for names, addresses and phone numbers of our senators and representatives.
Some have suggested protesting at the assessor’s office. Time and energy will be better spent contacting state legislators and local taxing districts.
On a recent trip to Spain, I discovered something that I believe tops the espresso martini. It’s called a barraquito.