Vail Daily’s View: Keeping phony property tax hike just wouldn’t be right |

Vail Daily’s View: Keeping phony property tax hike just wouldn’t be right

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

The Eagle County commissioners surely don’t want to hear this, but they should be finding a way to return, rebate — whatever — give back the tax revenue from those loopholed, only-on-paper gains in their constituents’ property appraisals.

Yes, it’s a shame that sales tax funds will necessarily drop, on account of the worst recession in generations knocking the local economy down.

But aiming to recoup revenue off frankly fantasy leaps in property values in these times is wrong-headed, and flat wrong.

They know that the true market value of real estate in Eagle County has dropped, not grown. Who doesn’t at this point? They need to acknowledge what is only obvious to everyone and give the taxpayers a much-needed break.

Yes, we understand, county staffers can’t possibly handle cutting their various budgets. Neither could your favorite real estate firm, construction company, restaurant or flower shop running at a fraction of the business they enjoyed a year ago. Guess what? They had to cut anyway, and deeply.

Hmm, and some of those folks own property whose value for tax purposes rose by double digits on average. Their businesses are struggling big time and local government even considers raising their taxes?

Taxing entities get a small break from the lag between what is happening to the business community and other taxpayers and the property tax bills going out. They should use that opportunity to bring the operation in line with the new economic reality now.

Instead of eyeing the property tax bills as a means of shoring up losses in other revenue, the county and other local governments ought to be looking their constituents’ needs and the future more thoroughly.

The county commissioners need to recognize that their operation is bigger than the revenue to support it, consider the burden laid on the taxpayers, and understand that they need to tighten the county’s belt accordingly.

Not take money ill-gained by essentially the lie that property values have risen. Not pretend that flat budgets or single-digit reductions represent any cogent adjustment to a recession that so far has sliced 25 percent from sales tax revenue.

True leaders understand the difference between a legal right and a moral right, and good ones do what’s right for the people they serve.

The Eagle County commissioners — and the 80-some-odd other property taxing entities — have a responsibility to do what’s right by the community. Hard as that may be to face, keeping the phony property tax increase would be wrong.

Vail Daily Editorial Board

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