To the Editor:
State Rep. Jack Franks’ proposed referendum on limiting property tax extensions is an important new element of public policy that I was happy to see your editorial board supports.
If reforming the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law to prohibit tax-levy increases during times when property values decline has become a less pressing issue, that is truly a shame. As Franks said in your Jan. 24 article, “Statewide advisory referendum on property tax relief sought,” now is exactly the time to prioritize this reform.
Never again should taxpayers confront a situation in which the value of their home, which is the largest asset most individuals and families own, and the amount of taxation to which it is subjected run in opposite directions. This burden took large sums of disposable income out of the real economy at a time when stronger consumer spending would have provided the buoyancy necessary for the strong recovery for which we are all still waiting.
Local governments’ addiction to immediate increases in their revenue streams is an extremely shortsighted tendency that is still resulting in an unnecessarily depressed economy. Getting Franks’ referendum would bring the longer term implications of local officials’ actions into focus and help them better understand the priorities of the people they serve.