Why do local elected officials expect you to cover higher prices for yourself and the government?
The local government budget process that determines how much you pay in property taxes will end in the next few weeks.
This will be your last chance to speak up, and we have heard from many ITR members planning to attend the public hearings.
If a city or county plans to increase property tax revenue by more than two percent, a public hearing is required, and the notice must include a statement explaining why an increase is necessary. Many local governments are using the inflationary costs of doing business as a reason for significant tax increases.
Yes, we all know how inflation impacts budgets, especially family budgets! However, why does the government not have to make sacrifices when individuals and businesses have to budget with the realities of inflation?
We encourage you to attend your community’s budget hearings. Search their websites or call city or county offices to find the date and time. If you can’t attend, email your city council members or county supervisors. An easy way to do this is through ITRLocal.org, where you can also see a 10-year property tax revenue collection history.
Get Mad in the Right Direction
City council members and county supervisors set the amount of your property tax bill, not the assessor. So, at the public hearing, tell your story and ask them:
- Where did you find savings in this year’s budget?
- When was the last time you did a zero-based budget or performance-based budget review?
- Why do you expect me to cover higher prices for myself and the government?
Don’t Let Them Use Scare Tactics
Too often, local officials discuss cuts to police and fire services or having to leave their snowplows parked all winter long. However, those types of cuts are one of the many fallacies thrown around during debates about property taxes.
It’s not true. State law requires local governments to provide many of the core government services. When the growth of local government slows, functions such as water parks, economic development, art sculptures, and other nice but not essential things will likely be the first items considered when reductions are needed.
Many voices are louder than one. So, get your friends and neighbors to attend with you. Even if you don’t change this year’s budget, they will remember that citizens are watching.