Sunday, March 18, 2007

Render Unto Caesar

Since before the time of Christ, taxes have plagued us. Presumably, these monies support the commons we all depend on. Our state and local infrastructure depend considerably on property tax revenue. How will declining property values affect revenue? Most Michigan homeowners have been getting a surprise increase in the taxable value of their home on the latest assessment. How can this be?

From The Traverse City Record Eagle, a succinct answer:
"Assessors use sales studies to determine a percentage increase or decrease in property values by neighborhood. State law sets the study period at two years, running from April 1, 2004, through March 31, 2006, for current figures."

Republicans propose some relief...
"Michigan homeowners would never get saddled -- as many are today -- with rising property tax bills in a declining real estate market, under proposed changes to state law and the constitution that state House Republicans plan to announce Monday."

Ironically, the Lord's work can cause a decline in much needed revenue.
A Redford Township church has acquired a $3.65 million "parsonage" causing the township to lose $40,000 annually in tax revenues.

Meanwhile, foreclosures and declining values will also affect revenue down the road.
Michigan was second in the nation in the rate of new foreclosure filings in January (Nevada was first), according to RealtyTrac, a national real estate and foreclosure tracking site. Michigan saw 11,554 new filings, up 147 percent from a year ago.

And property taxes aren't the only concern...
"Less than one-third of Michigan adults support the centerpiece of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to solve Michigan's budget crisis -- a 2% tax on many services and entertainment -- a new Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll shows."