Republican rithmetic

Published 4:35 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To the Editor:

If Tom Pack wanted to explain Polk Countys property tax situation using simple math, he sure chose a misleading way to do it.

First, Tom stated that he was comparing the values of all property in Polk County before and after revaluation. But he wasnt. He knew that he wasnt.

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In fact, he asked the county Finance Office for only partial property valuation numbers, contrary to what he told you.

Tom sent an email to the Finance Office with the following request: What was the total valuation of property in Polk County before revaluation and the total property valuation in Polk County after revaluation? I would like this excluding vehicles if possible. (Toms words.)

Why did Tom tell you and your readers that he was comparing the values of all property in the county when he intentionally asked the Finance Office to leave out a significant segment of property in Polk County?

If the math is simple, the answer to that question is even simpler: If Tom had used the true numbers for all property, his answer would not have come out to his liking. It would not have given him that $290,526.56 he wanted use to try to disparage the tax rate decrease the current Board of Commissioners worked out for the people.

Tom knows that vehicle property taxes went way down this year, and he wanted to take that fact out of the computation to make his misleading case.

Leaving out the vehicle portion of the property valuation explains the numbers Tom Pack, Keith Holbert and a couple of others are waving around. But leaving out those values is an intentional way of misleading the public about the true property tax situation in Polk County.

The budgeted tax revenues for 2009-2010 were essentially the same as those for 2008-2009 when all property tax revenues are taken into account, not $290,525.56 in excess as Tom and Keith misleadingly claim.

Revenue neutrality is properly computed taking all property taxes into account. You cant just pick and choose which types of property taxes to use to make an argument that doesnt hold water.

Rene McDermott