Friday, May 23, 2008

A Call to Action Re the Utah Property Tax

Ogden Valley Forum argues the property tax system is broken, and needs to be fixed

We'd like to put the spotlight this morning on an article posted yesterday on Ogden Valley Forum, which springboards nicely off yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, reporting that some "insiders" within the Utah tax collection establishment consider the existing Utah property tax system to be efficient, well-run, and in no need of tinkering or fixing.

OVF contributors Larry and Sharon Zini differ significantly in their assessment of the Utah property tax situation, and argue that the Utah property tax law, as currently applied, is riddled with inequities and inefficiencies. We incorporate their lead paragraphs below:

Today's Standard Examiner article stating that Utah’s property tax system is “well run” is self serving for many of the political leaders in our fair state and is disingenuous and misleading.

It may be that our property tax system in Utah looks pretty good to outsiders, but a close examination of the details of our property tax system indicates it is favorable to some and unfavorable for many others, such as the elderly, on a scale that is clearly not understood by most taxpayers.
The authors go on to provide some interesting fact reporting and analysis, as well as a few suggestions, all intended to add "fairness" to Utah tax law. In a nutshell, Larry and Sharon propose that lawmakers and taxing authorities should adopt following corrective measures:

1) Shift public education funding from the property tax to the sales tax;
2) Require property tax reassessments across all Utah Counties on an annual basis;
3) Deny permits and petitions to property owners who are delinquent in their property tax payments;
4) Crack down on property owners who abuse the 45% "primary residence" property tax exemption.

All in all, it's a fine and thought-provocative article; one well worth a read.

Interested WCF denizens can read it here.

When you get done reading and cogitating... don't forget to come back to WCF with your comments.

And if you think the Utah property tax isn't your, problem, it's probably because you haven't been "bitten"... yet.

Special thanks to Larry and Sharon, for providing this thoughtful piece of work.


Southsider said...

I tend to disagree with Larry and Sharon on the school tax part for several reasons, but I've wondered about this primary residence exemption: it appears the Leshems have several primary residences in Ogden.

Caesare said...

That is an interesting concept worthy of further examination. What if you picked up about half (27.5%) of the education revenue from a sales tax? You would have everyone contributing including out of state visitors to our education system and the property tax bill for residents would be cut in half.

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