Thursday, March 23, 2006
Who's your "IQ"?
Via Angry Ashley
, we see that Raymond
has located the "IQ" website
with its slate of assessor reform candidates for New Orleans.
Many of you know that reforming and consolidating the seven[!] Orleans Parish Assessors is a pet issue of mine, as well as the Times-Picayune
. Today, the Pic reports how the feds view this antiquated system of favorites
The [Bureau of Governmental Research] lists several reasons why it believes consolidation is needed:
-- The multiplicity inherently wastes money. The report estimated taxpayers could save more than $560,000 by shrinking the office from seven to one. "Basically, New Orleanians are paying for seven CEOs when one would do," the report said.
-- The current system is rife with corruption and unprofessional practices. What the BGR describes as "an overly cozy relationship between assessors and their constituents, combined with unprofessional practices," has created inequitable assessments and exerts upward pressure on millage rates.
-- The district structure lacks rationale. For example, the 4th District has 6,710 taxpayers compared to 71,812 in the 3rd District. "The system of seven assessors appears to be nothing more than a historical accident," the report said.
-- The multiplicity cannot be explained by workload. The bureau points out that the total number of parcels handled by Orleans' seven assessors is less than the number handled by one assessor in Jefferson Parish and one in East Baton Rouge Parish.
There is hope, however:
In a post-Katrina effort to change the system, a slate of seven candidates qualified to run for each of the assessor positions on a platform to forgo their combined annual salaries and expenses to hire a private professional appraisal firm to assess property.
New Orleanians, meet your "IQ" reform candidates. IQ ticket Home.
I don't have a problem with consolidating all these redundant city offices, but the IQ ticket isn't all it's cracked up to be.
There's no way they can hire a professional firm to assess all of NOLA for $700K. It'll cost the taxpayers a lot more than that.
There's also not enough data yet to establish the post-Katrina market. There was a brief spike in prices immediately after Katrina that wasn't sustained, and when I left the city at the end of last year there was a glut of properties on the market. I'm worried that they're going to use the panic-mode sales to artificially inflate assessments. The last thing the recovery needs is to add hundreds of dollars a month to everypne's house note through higher assessments and insurance premiums.
I think the real agenda of both the IQ ticket and the openly editorializing T-P is tax hikes, not fair taxation.
I don't buy that, bacon.
Once we get the first set of real assessments, things will fall into place. The problem right now is people being assessed at 1960s rates, and the cronyism that continues that.
Ashley's not angry. He's just speaking da truth. Sinn Fein, baby.
I agree that there are problems--Archie Manning shouldn't be paying less than $100 a year in property taxes for a mansion.
But pre-Katrina we had housing prices rise by 55% in 5 years. Very few people had their income go up by that much, and "fair" assessments would be a minor nuisance for Archie but would be a significant hardship for working and middle class people.
As far as asessments go, private-sector appraisers will tell you the same thing--there's insufficient data to establish fair market value right now, which is causing problems for writing mortgages in compliance with Fannie Mae standards.
The 7 assessors cost us an additional 5.4 million dollars a year that is off the books. And in actuality even assessments will lower taxes for those who are bearing the brunt of being unequally assessed while those who are politically connected will have to pay their fair share.
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