The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 April 2004

Pay to the piper

State Question 676, passed in 1996, limits the increase in assessed value for property-tax purposes to five percent per year.

There are a couple of catches, of course. The actual tax can rise more than five percent, if the tax rate increases. However, since tax increases must be approved by voters, this is less of an issue than it could be.

The other one will hit me this year: if the property is sold or otherwise conveyed, the limitation does not apply, inasmuch as the assessor has to come up with a new set of numbers. Tax bills come out in October. I didn't take possession until the last week of November; at settlement, I paid about one-tenth of the taxes to cover my 36 days of possession for the year. But for 2004, the tax bill will reflect a new, updated, and significantly higher assessment; in subsequent years, the five-percent cap will kick in again.

Assuming the actual rates don't rise, which they haven't in a while and probably won't by October, I'm looking at about a $150 bump in this year's property taxes, which isn't onerous but isn't fun either. The Gods of Escrow will, of course, demand $13 a month to cover the difference.

Posted at 3:25 PM to Surlywood

How very Prop.-13-ish.

So, are your municipalities falling apart, the way California's big-government types have been complaining since the day after the 1978 election in which Prop. 13 was approved?

Posted by: McGehee at 5:55 PM on 8 April 2004

Actually, no. We have a few infrastructure issues here and there — our roads are, let's face it, fairly sucky — but since the oil bust of the early Eighties, we've learned how to tighten our belts pretty well. What's more, running deficits is literally unconstitutional in this state. Oklahoma City's budget increased a tad less than 1 percent this year.

The property-tax rates, which are not capped, do rise, but not so much; from 1993 to 2003 they went up about 16 percent in my particular area. (The tax rate within a given county varies by city, by school district, and by vo-tech district.)

Posted by: CGHill at 7:18 PM on 8 April 2004

Wow, you have a Legislature that actually avoids doing unconstitutional stuff?

Maybe I could move to a border town so I could buy my Sudafed in Texas or Kansas and smuggle it across the border.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:07 AM on 9 April 2004

I'm not claiming that this state stays out of areas it can't justify entering — tattoo parlors are still illegal here, fercrissake, and while we didn't invent Prohibition, we raised bootlegging to an art form — but overall, Oklahoma government tends to err on the side of doing less, which has the advantage of being less expensive.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:29 AM on 9 April 2004