Monday, August 27, 2007

Nassau Republicans and the Assesment Freeze Gimmick

You can always count on Legislator Peter Schmitt to misinform and mislead voters. In the Nassau GOP press release, Schmitt says “The Republican plan will give Nassau’s hard-pressed taxpayers some relief by ensuring that the Nassau County Assessor cannot increase the assessed value of any residence in the county for the next five years.”
How exactly are taxpayers getting "relief?"
Taxes will not be cut or decrease with this assessment freeze.
In fact, taxpayers who do win a grievence to lower their taxes won't be getting as much of a decrease because the freeze will cut into tax revenue and the money has to come from someplace.
If you win a tax grievence on your 1 story Cape and a 2 story mini-mansion is not paying their full assessment for 5 years, your taxes have to make up for that loss of tax revenue. So when you could have saved X, it will be a lower Y because Nassau is back to the uneven and unfair assessment system.

The Press Release continues "
Under the Republican proposal, the county would continue to conduct annual valuations of private residences and homeowners would benefit from a lower assessment if home values decreased. The county would be prohibited from increasing the assessment on homes that the county assessor contends have risen in value during the five-year freeze period."

So if you live in that 1 story cape and a neighbor adds another 1000 square feet to his house, you are paying the same tax he is. Is that fair to you?
Because of a 40+ year broken assessment system, Nassau taxpayers suffered. Now Schmitt and the gang want to bring that back.

Schmitt says
“I am proud to introduce this group of candidates because they hold a key to Nassau County’s future and they will fight for our plan to stop the property tax nightmare and constant reassessments. Seniors and young people are moving away from Nassau County in droves due to the high cost of living.”

Let's see what the New York State Department of Real Property Services says:
"What Makes My Tax Bill Change?

Tax bills increase for one or more of the following reasons: bigger budgets are adopted, revenue from sources other than the property tax shrinks, the taxable assessed value of the assessing unit changes, or the tax levy is apportioned differently.

Taxpayers unhappy with growing property tax bills should not concern themselves just with assessments. They also should examine the scope of budgets and expenditures of the taxing jurisdictions (counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, etc.) and address those issues in the appropriate available forums, such as meetings of the city council, or town, village, and school boards."

What was that again?
Oh yeah, "Taxpayers unhappy with growing property tax bills should not concern themselves just with assessments."

Yup, it's not the assessment that can raise your taxes, it's local taxing entities.
Schmitt and the republicans don't want to tackle the tougher issue of the local and school taxes that comprise 83% of your tax bill.
While the "freeze" is in place, your town, fire district, library district, water district, school district, sanitation district and whatever multiple layers of government you may have will continue to raise taxes if they need money.
Again, keep in mind that the County portion of your taxes is about 17% of your total tax bill. The rest is not controlled by the county. As I said in the Massapequa Post, "
A property tax assessment freeze will do nothing to reduce property taxes.. Schmitt would do better to use his position as a platform to pressure school districts to reduce taxes."
It's time to have someone who will use his position to work on and hi-light important issues that may not be under direct county control. Schmitt won't do that.

In his own press release from March, Schmitt said "This is a win, win, win situation for all homeowners in Nassau County. The result is that homeowners can gain a sense of confidence and predictability in their tax bills by eliminating yearly reassessments and unpredictable increases, and we can make household budgets easier to control and anticipate,”

To that I say "
Mr. Schmitt, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

There will be "unpredictability" simply because all the special districts can raise taxes on thier own. Household budgets will not be "easier to control" because of the uneven assessments that will result from this.The tax revenue from houses with higher values that would have an increase that would off-set smaller houses lower values and lower taxes will be gone. The money to run the county/town/village/school etc has to come from somewhere. And taxes are not going to go down because of Schmitts plan.
The reason that assessed values increased so much was because the market which is not controlled by government was out of control. Homeowners were getting $500,000 for a house that a couple of years before would sell for $250,000. That means that the same house in the same area will be assessed higher. The sellers market we had was a boon for the people leaving but it did leave its mark on those who stayed. More from
New York State Department of Real Property Services :"Remember that the real property tax is an ad valorem tax, or a tax based on the value of property. Two owners of real property of equal value should pay the same amount in property taxes. Also, the owner of more valuable property should pay more in taxes than the owner of less valuable property."
With the "freeze" that Schmitt wants, this will not happen.

More to come....

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