5J tax levy and you

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board May 04, 2011 04:34 pm

The pamphlet the Baker School District mailed to patrons last week regarding the local option tax levy on the May 17 ballot tries to simplify the task of figuring out how the levy, if approved, would affect property tax bills.

Trouble is, that task does not lend itself to simplifications.

The pamphlet rightly points out that “exact rates and taxes must be individually calculated.”

Where the pamphlet goes astray, potentially, is where it shows the effect of the levy on an “average house” — one with a real market value of $130,000 and an assessed value of $103,000.

The calculations are accurate — if your property has those values, the levy would, as the pamphlet states, boost your annual tax bill by $32.

Unfortunately, the pamphlet doesn’t explain that the tax amounts listed are for education only, which makes up just a portion of your property tax bill. Absent that clarification, a person who reads the pamphlet, and then looks at his tax bill, could easily be confused.

Voters deserve to know exactly how much this levy would cost them, if anything (almost 25 percent of property owners wouldn’t pay anything extra).

We recommend property owners follow the formula that we’ve reprinted on Page 5A of today’s issue, or go to this link: www.bakercityherald.com/Public-Documents/May-17-2011-Election-Resources