Consider every tax in levies [UPDATED]Published 9:24am Tuesday, September 18, 2012 Updated 11:26am Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When you’re a unit of government that relies heavily on property taxes to get by, it’s sometimes easy to look at your own bottom line instead of the bottom line of the people you serve. While property taxes are a necessary part of property ownership, local governments would do well to remember that they aren’t taxing people in a vaccuum.
Take, for example, a homeowner in Fergus Falls. Even with the city council looking at lowering its tax increase, homeowners could find themselves facing an 11.4 percent levy increase in the city.
That’s a significant increase, but it’s not all that homeowner has to deal with. Otter Tail County could raise its tax levy by 4 percent, and, if voters approve, the Fergus Falls School District could replace an expiring levy with one of a similar cost.
It’s easy for our leaders and those in favor of a tax increase to say that their increase is only a few dollars more per year. That may be true, but it becomes less true for a taxpayer when every unit of government wants to tax him or her just a little bit more.
Some increases – like debt service for building projects – can’t be avoided. However, one of the most appreciated services a government can provide is saving its citizens money.