So, it turns out Karen Montoya, the former Bernalillo County Tax Assessor who originally ran on a platform of fixing "tax lightning", illegally raised taxes on about 1400 properties.
Anyone who's property taxes went up by more than 3% in 2010, 2011 or 2012 should contact the Bernalillo County Tax Assessor's office to find out if they were part of Montoya's illegal scheme. The current Assessor has promised to make this a priority. Mine went up over 3% and I sure do intend to contact them.
I voted against Karen Montoya because of her stand on tax lightning and how she intended to "fix" it. I figured it would mean higher property taxes for me and it did. That was the last time I ever voted for a republican.
KRQE-13 has an article here: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/larry_barker/former-assessor-fleeces-proper...
It isn't about your taxes going up; it's about your assessment going up. That's what the assessor controls. And she's a Democrat.
According to the linked article, all the affected properties are in multi-family buildings. The article seems to say it can't be fixed by law, but that the new Assessor is fixing it. But I don't think the Legislature ever clarified the underlying problem of Tax Lightning.
I believe what can't be "fixed" is the past taxes paid when the assessments weren't appealed within the statutory period. The assessments can be rolled back and taxes reduced going forward. My pet peeve is the shell game played between the taxing agencies and the Assessor. True enough, the Assessor doesn't set tax rates but the reality is that all taxing agencies (County, City, APS, UNM, etc.) benefit from the "automatic" 3% annual increase in valuations. Yes, "your taxes won't go up" voting for this or that bond issue but your tax bill increases just the same. If those new bonds are being issued in the same value as the paid off ones they are replacing, but I'm pay more overall property taxes, where is the extra money going?
The three percent anual increase in valuation means it's held to that, instead of going up with actual value of the property. So the taxing authorities are losing money on those, compared to the ones that aren't frozen.
Yes, the new bond issues replace the old ones, so the millage rate doesn't go up for that. Look at your tax bill or the county website to see the millage for for the various entities year by year. Didn't the mill rate for one of them go up last year or so? I think the amount of property taxes for the county is determined by taking the total to be raised and dividing it by the total assesment. That sets the mill rate. If someone has a good source for this or knows better, please weigh in.
The county's expenses go up with inflation like everything else: salaries, taxes, fuel, insurance, rent, etc..
According to the 3% rule, there can still be a 3% increase in property valuation even if property values go down like many have for the last several years. Granted, property values rarely go down but recent times have not been the norm.
The only way to accurately value a property is to sell it. A property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Saying a property has increased in value from year to year even when it has not been on the market is pure speculation.
Tax lightning was a made up problem because a few felt others were "getting away" with something when in reality, it was the way the system was supposed to work.
If an assessment has been limited to 3% a year, it gets 'way below market value after a while. So raising it 3% usually isn't going to exceed market value. Would you sell your house for what it's assessed at? Unless you just bought it, of course.