Ridiculous Lawsuit Over Assessments in Jackson County
Talk about having your cake and eating it, too. School districts loved it when property values skyrocketed throughout this decade along with their budgets. But now that values of fallen, KCTV reports that several school districts around Kansas City have filed suit to prevent the county assessor from lowering property values. These people are living in an alternate universe. The state Constitution already protects the taxing districts by allowing them to roll up their tax rates to a revenue-neutral level in the rare years like this when property values decline. Is that good enough for them?
Of course not. Yesterday’s Post-Dispatch documented how teachers throughout St. Louis are getting their standard pay raises despite the economy, and the districts just assume that taxpayers will pick up the slack even as many of them have seen declines in their own income. At least the schools in St. Louis have, so far, followed the law and not filed a lawsuit.
When you base a tax system on property values, as we do in Missouri, you have to take the good with the bad. Sometimes, but not often, values will go down. For the school districts to sue in order to force the use of last year’s assessments — which everybody knows are no longer accurate — is the absolute height of bureaucratic arrogance.
How about this for an example of a typical made-up PR claim, from the KCTV story, in which the people filing the lawsuit to make taxpayers pay more actually claim to be protecting homeowners:
The source [from one of the public school districts] said the problem for homeowners is if they go to sell their home, most buyers will not go over the county’s assessed value, so sellers could get much less then what their home is worth.
I think many home purchasers don’t even know the assessed value of a home when they buy it. Most of them certainly don’t care. The idea that they won’t go over the assessed value is ridiculous. People generally know just the market value of a home, and that the current market values are lower than they were in the past.