The plan was bogus from the outset.
The property tax mess in the county is massive. Fontana has been the chair of this failed effort and committee.
The 0-1-2-3-4 plan was a short-term fix. I hate short term fixes.
To soar, to thrive, to prosper again, we need leaders and concerned citizens who are going to work at getting to the roots of the problems. Too many around here are just batting at the leaves on the tree of suffering. Some of us care about the system wide problems.
We are not back to square one. Wrong. We are now behind the 8-ball again. We are now in deeper crisis mode. We are again putting matters before the judge to decide.
I want elections to decide. I want judges to come to the forefront when problems exist. I don't want to make problems at every turn and run to judges. The way to fix the mess -- elect candidate with solutions and a desire to get to those solutions.
The top solution for this challenge: ASSESSMENT BUFFERING.
We need a state senator who can take a state-wide fix, assessment buffering, and champion a new model, like is done in Maryland. When an assessment arrives, the increases in property values are buffered. Taxpayers have an opportunity to know what the taxes are going to be in the years ahead. Increases are much more gradual.
The assessment buffering utility is universal for all property owners. Hence, assessment buffering fixes the snag with the state constitution and the "uniformity clause."
Fontana's law about 0-1-2-3-4 was broken because it didn't have any fairness. Fontana's law wasn't uniform. It was clearly junk legislation. That is the best they can muster, sadly.
We can do better.
Another solution to this whole mess, and another idea that gets to the roots of the problem -- LAND VALUE TAX. As soon as we put more of a value upon the land, and less upon the building, then the system has stability and even greater fairness. This shift back to the land-value tax would send the region into a new round of building and growth.
Today, property owners are rewarded for letting their buildings decline. Turn you house into a shack and get a property tax break. That's wrong. Turn your house into a beautiful home and get penalized. That is wrong.
We want people to grow the value in their homes. We want people to be good neighbors and fix up their buildings.
Today the land speculators are getting rewarded for doing nothing with their weed covered plots of land. That isn't good economics. That isn't good for the neighborhodds. That isn't good for our region.
Once we tax the land to a higher degree than the property -- the land speculators will sell off the holdings because the taxes are too great. Or, the land speculators will try to do a fix up and make the property one of the best in the neighborhoods to maximize the investment and long term return.
Furthermore, our downtown office towers are becoming empty. The values to those buildings are dropping faster than ever. We need to keep the value in downtown and keep the taxes off of the backs of the smaller property owners in the neighborhoods. The taxes situation in the city is shifting away from downtown office building owners and onto the backs of the little guys.
Smart people who think again can appreciate the situations and we can make changes. We can fix the decline with some different policies.
Judge rules county can't cap property assessments Onorato convinced County Council to change the county administrative code to allow the six categories because without them, he said, many taxpayers would face huge increases in their property taxes.
In a 20-page opinion and order, Wettick acknowledged the county had some problems after its last reassessment in 2003. But the cap system enacted by the county 'works to exacerbate rather than to correct these problems' because the caps would not allow properties to be assessed at their actual values.