Friday, August 24, 2007

Cuyahoga County reckoning day: what color ink to use?

Cuyahoga lowers home valuations - -- Here's a PD piece by Mike O'Malley from last Saturday, talking about $1 billion in reassessments dropping off the books. I wish I knew from the article how much that was, roughly, in dollars. Perhaps we can back into it.

Another thing happening is that now, as of July 2nd, all people over 65 are eligible for the Homestead Tax Exemption in Ohio. That includes Cuyahoga County. For each person now qualifying, each person who didn't qualify for the exemption before because of having a higher income, this means roughly $400 in savings, which is the amount of the tax on the first $25,000 of valuation. Somebody must have an estimate of what this will cost the county, but I haven't seen it anywhere yet. From these figures, though, we know that 1.6% of $25,000 gives us the $400 savings. Therefore, the $1,000,000,000 in O'Malley's article will cost the county $16 million in revenue they had been anticipating.

Yet another thing happening, pointed out to us by our friend Jill Miller Zimon, is that the county, for the period ending in April, has experienced 25 consecutive months of declining sales-tax revenues. I wish this were quantified in dollars, too.

In these three instances, then, there is compelling evidence that Cuyahoga County doesn't have the money to do what it set out to do, like tear down the Breuer Tower and build something new in its place. Perhaps it's time to come clean with the public; perhaps it's time for transparency; failing that, perhaps it's time for an audit.

Here's the front end of O'Malley's article:

Cuyahoga County has wiped nearly $1 billion in estimated property values off the books after thousands of homeowners complained about a 2006 reassessment that raised combined residential values by 16 percent.

More than 29,000 homeowners successfully argued that the collapse of the housing market meant that values assigned to their properties were too high. Another 6,000 complaints have yet to be resolved.

1 comment:

  1. OK, I know this is too simplistic, but is it, lose property values and revenue = raise sales tax?

    I am still lacking a good explanation for this 20 year sales tax hike plan.

    Someone please tell me what the plan is...

    I know it is a small increase and all the folks I talk to who could care less have all the money and most of them have cars to shop for things outside the county if need be and/or plans to just spend more because it is convenient and they have plenty of cash on hand. Are they considering the guy who has no way to get outside the county to buy a needed appliance (and I don't mean home entertainment system - I mean stove/refrigerator)?