Topic: Property Values Up
Rise in Home Values Causes Headache to Homeowners: Rising Home Values = High Property Taxes
The Lowdown on the Real Estate Boom: Even the well-oiled homeowners are crying foul
Residents of very popular towns and cities have been suffering secretly for a long time now. They have seen a wrong that needs redress. They have seen their working-class neighbors get up, pack up and leave town. The reason is that these modest wage earners can not keep up with the rising assessments in property taxes they have to pay. For this group of homeowners, the American dream of owning a home can only be realized in another town or a completely different state. Around or after Christmas, the bills start arriving.
If you own a hot house, cabin or property in a hot real estate zone, then you may be hit by high property taxes. Such is the reality that many new homeowners have to face after all the buying euphoria dies down. The bills will come from the assessor's office. "What are you going to do?" asked a colleague. "If you don't pay up, you will run into trouble." From Lake Tahoe to the California-Nevada areas, coastal towns and to lakefront properties, the rise in home values over the years has only caused some headache for many people. In 1978, California's Prop. 13 did something about this property tax issue. Many other states have just be plagued with this problem. California's voters, through their initiative, placed a cap at 2 % until a property is sold. Local and state governments depend on the property taxes as their main revenue. They need the funds for schools and other local agencies programs.
Some groups of homeowners are doing something about this. Through citizen initiatives and lawsuits, they want to have a say in how their property tax is being spent. Groups such as the "Ax the View Tax" are leading movements against the taxing of people on intangible values and qualities such as a view or a specific location. Idaho lawmakers have eight bills before them on property taxes. One of the bills will revise the "homestead exemption" which is at $50,000 of a home's value off the tax bracket. The bill will boost it to $1,00,000. South Carolina caps the rise in property assessments at 3 percent until a home is sold. Greorgia's lawmakers support a 3 percent cap too. Nevadans are gathering signatures for their own initiative. Connecticut homeowners have been hit hard for their frontlake property views. They are doing something to correct the situation.
It is clear that something is not right. Homeowners are saying enough is enough.