Letter: Property tax system is flawed

Published:

 

With home prices climbing in Clark County, we need to look at how property taxes are computed. Taxes are levied based on a formula per $1,000 of home value. When property values rise, the dollar amount of taxes collected rises correspondingly. When values decrease, the rate goes up in order for collections to remain the same. When values again increase, collections are based on the new, higher rate.

The county tax millage rate in my area in January 2011 was $13.28 per $1,000 of value. In January 2012 the millage rate increased to $13.74 per $1,000. That rate increase corresponded with a decrease in value. Fairness would dictate that if the rate increases when values fall, then the rate should decrease correspondingly when values rise. That would keep the tax bite even in all economic circumstances. In the current system, however, collections rise when values rise and rates rise when values fall. It's a ladder with steps that point only upward.

I can understand increasing the tax rate when values and collections fall. The county needs a certain amount of money to continue to operate in a poor economy. But there is no demonstrated need to collect more when values rise.

That's an unjustified tax increase. It must stop.

Joel Littauer

Vancouver