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'Fair market value' assessor escrow

Officials who assess the 'fair market value' of property for tax/fee purposes must, at taxpayer's option, accept shares of such properties 'equivalent' to salary.
  [vote for,

To curb inflation of 'fair market value' assessment of cars, real estate &c. for state revenue, escrows are established with funds withheld from assessor salaries, such that property owners can -- at their discretion -- call assessors' bluffs by swapping property for its assessed cash value. To recoup salary, assessors will of course be free to re-sell the property for 'fair market value'.

Please note that I'm not anti-tax! I highly favor progressive taxation, and would be happy to see property tax scaled logistically, converging to linearly at infinity, to assessed value, for example. But such an escrow would restore some -accuracy- to the assessment process per se, especially at the low end of the 'Blue Book' car market, for example, where poorer owners are typically overtaxed.

n-pearson, Jul 13 2003


       I think only a person who is in business for themselves should have to shoulder liability in this manner.
bristolz, Jul 13 2003

       The implementation may need some adjustments, but it is a good idea that officials are in some way held liable for incompetence, arbitrary decisions and the damage they do.
A while ago my brother and neighbors had a major argument with the city where he lived because some environmental initiative (tax financed) had planted trees along the street where he lives. Some city official had the idea that it improved the street so much that the assessed value of all houses should be increased by 7%.
The neighborhood wone against the city but it cost about $12,000 in legal fees. Nobody reimbursed them for that.
kbecker, Jul 13 2003

       re-en, I don't fully understand your prediction. You forecast a 'climate of selling before the threat of higher taxes would be generated, much like a bubble or a pyramid scheme' -- but doesn't that aptly describe the -current- situation, where over-assessment can prompt a property owner to sell rather than default, and corrupt officials can designate multi-property blocks for over-assessment in the hopes of landing sweetheart sales to a developer pal or something?   

       Unless you're invoking the state escrow's added efficiency of volume-selling and/or inside info on market prospects, I fail to see how assessors could strategically profit from the market any more than could the owners who choose to sell to them. And regulations might help: one could, for example, stipulate that contiguous properties bought by the escrow be re-sold under open bid, and only to distinct buyers unaffiliated with the officials themselves (but of course that would have loopholes too). At any rate, feel free to clarify your objections so that some of us can better understand them.
n-pearson, Jul 13 2003

       I had considered proposing that the escrow simply contain state funds (rather than assessor wages per se), but that seemed to allow an embittered assessor to stick it to her/his employer (by wilfully brokering ripoffs of the fund) without direct personal risk.
n-pearson, Jul 13 2003

       //I highly favor progressive taxation//   

       While I would like to see greater accountability for public "service" jobs, any idea based on the concept that taxation is a good thing, gets a fishbone from me.
ato_de, Jul 14 2003

       Your bizarre mechanism is actually going to *cause* inflation, as officials jack up "fair market values" to inflate their salaries.   

       Having been a real estate appraiser, I can assure you that assessed values for tax purposes are usually *considerably* below fair market value.
DrCurry, Jul 14 2003

       Ok, I see yall's point that the setup could let coalitions of assessors effectively corner local housing markets, turning whatever profit they might. Could a system of state escrow work better, or would you argue that such a system would merely give the state a more effective means to profit than does the current potential for over- assessment?
n-pearson, Jul 14 2003

       " ... I can assure you that assessed values for tax purposes are usually *considerably* below fair market value ... "   

       Except in my neck o' the woods where they are very close. Within 5% usually.
bristolz, Jul 14 2003

       bris: it does vary by jurisdiction; hopefully, your mil rates are correspondlgy lower than townships with lower assessed values.
bp: I'd agree that assessing taxes based on relatively unchanging numbers like square footage and acreage would result in more certainty and less overhead.
DrCurry, Jul 14 2003


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