Archives for category: Tax certs


The reason the actual increase in our taxes will be higher than the “Estimated” increase of 4.85% has to do with tax certs.

The simplest explanation is that when businesses–or, less frequently, homeowners–win tax certs, their property taxes are reduced but district spending is not reduced accordingly. As taxable assessments fall, District spending continues to rise.

As a result, those of us who have not won tax certs must pick up the payments of those who did. We are the ‘losers’ in a game of Pass the hot potato.

The principle: when one property owner’s taxes go down, everyone else’s property taxes go up. This is the tax shift.

The district’s “Estimated” tax-rate increase  is wrong because the district does not estimate the “tax shift” (and has refused to do so when asked). Nor does the district make sure citizens understand that the Estimated tax-rate increase is an underestimate.

Next year we are borrowing $3.5 million to pay tax certs. Taxpayers who have not won a tax-cert case must pay that $3.5 million, and from now on we must pick up those owners’ (former) share of property taxes.

That will take us well past the “Estimated” 4.85% tax-rate increase.

UPDATE 9/6/2013:

Have just heard from a neighbor whose taxes rose 5.61%. He says that his tax bill is typical.

If he is correct that his bill is typical, the district increased spending year-on-year by 5.7% and taxes rose by 5.6%. That 5.6% increase pays for a $2.2 million budget surplus — money that will not be spend on education or extracurricular programs — in addition to educational programming.

Click to enlarge
Taxable Assessments 3.5.2013
source: Superintendent’s Proposed Budget March 5, 2013 | page 39

  • Roughly a 1% increase in taxable assessments.
  • Proposed budget increase, excluding $3.5 million borrowed to pay tax certs: 5.7%.