Thursday, March 23, 2006

St. Clair unlikely to get to vote on appraisals

To be honest, as a resident of St. Clair County, I have no problems with annual appraisals. This isn't exactly Jefferson County, where taxes are completely ridiculous.

But I do have a major problem with one thing-- not allowing the voters to decide how they are taxed.

To be fair, all four of the representatives from my county are asking for a vote from residents to decide whether their homes are appraised every year or every four years. But Montgomery County has decided to butt in:

...Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery, who chairs the House General Fund budget committee, led the move to block the St. Clair bill. Knight said property taxes collected by counties also help fund state services, such as prisons, Medicaid, schools and veterans' programs.

...Other single-county bills to address the issue also have stalled. Bills that would call for a statewide vote limiting appraisals to every four years have stalled.

Only Montgomery County did annual appraisals before 2003...

Montgomery County, for those who missed my rant from yesterday, is the same place that originated the oh-so-intelligent bill that would require children across the state to be in booster seats until junior high school. Brilliant guys, these are. (That would be sarcasm, folks.)

Now for those who are going to say that I'm hypocritical because I favored the state representatives from Jefferson County for overstepping the Jeffco Commission, let me explain the difference. The legislators from Jefferson County were voted on by the people of Jefferson County just as much as the commissioners. At no time did anyone in St. Clair County vote for the representatives from Montgomery County.

But then there's the argument that this money goes toward state-wide programs.

Lobbying groups that represent school boards, county commissions and others support the annual appraisals. They say the old four-year method kept taxes artificially low.

Some St. Clair County school officials say they want to keep the annual appraisals, partly because they say the growing system needs the increased revenues that will result.

Okie dokie, so it does. Problem is, I didn't vote for the lobbying groups, school officials, and friends to decide how my taxes would be collected and spent. That's what I voted for Rep. McClendon to do, and this is what he had to say about it:

But Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said government's need for the money should not keep county voters from having their say.

"The fact is, it's the people's money," McClendon said. "It doesn't belong to the county commissions, school boards or anybody else."

And that is why I love him.

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