Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on August 25, 1974 · Page 10
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August 25, 1974

Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 10

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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Sunday, August 25, 1974
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Page 10
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10A · Northwest Arkansas TIMES, Sun., Aug. 25, 1974 PAYCTTEVILLE, ARKANSAS Nader Surveys Results * : Property Tax Systems Inaccurate, Unfair By KENNETH B. DALECKI . TIMES Washinglou Bureau WASHINGTON; -- when your '·'property tax bill arrives this '·'·year, you can be sure ot one "thing -- it is inaccurate. ; It is virtually certain that as ' R homeowner, the assessment on your single family residence is off the mark and as a result you are paying more -- or less .',-- than your fair share. i,' . Inequities in the properly tax -.system, which is relied upon i heavily for revenue by most j..local governments, have been well known for years. But this summer a (ax reform 'organization established by con' sumer crusader Ralph Nader :' put the problem in shockingly ' stark terms. Using Census Bureau data, ' the Public Citizen's Tax Reform Research Group showed' that in Indianapolis. Inc., for example. .. the average owner of a $30,000 ..house was paying $352 too much ,.6r loo little in taxes. That , means two owners of $30.000 houses who should have been paying the same amount were possibly paying $7(M more or less than each other -whopping difference of 212 per cent. The group's analysis was based on Census Bureau 1971 statistics and show that a typical single-family homeowner is assessed 20.2 per cent, too much or loo litlle. In one city -- Trenton, N. 3. -- the study .showed Ihe error to be as high as 54 per cent on a $30,000 house. That meant the average homeowner was paying $2,104 more or less property taxes than his neighbor who owned a similar house. The Nader organization used Census Bureau data which compared the selling price of houses, the lax assessments they carried prior to being sold, and the variations between the two. Property (axes have traditionally been the nation's most unpopular form of revenue-raising. A survey in April by the Advisory Commission on intergovernmental Relations (AC1R) shows that 28 per cent of the' American people consider it to ie the "worst tax" they have o pay. That was a-significant mproveincnt, however, over 1972 when 45 per cent of those surveyed dubbed the property lax the worst. "Taxpayers throughout the country are subjected lo illegal ·md unjust variations in tax burden that go far to explain why they arc so fed up with property taxes," the Nader group said. "But the study also shows that when states take seriously their responsibility to provide fair assessing they can do so," it added. California and Oregon are cited as states where assessments generally come close to the mark. Property assessments invariably 'differ and experts contend that inferences within 15 per cent of the ideal assessment are acceptable. In 1971. the study showed, only one-quarter of local jurisdictions achieved this acccpt- error. Statewide. Connecticut had Ihe best record (13.7 per cent too high or low) while North Dakota had the worst (40,5 per cent off the mark). Assessment errors Iranslate into fax bills that are above or below the property owner's fair share of the burden...But determining for yourself whether you have been improperly assessed is a tough job. One reason is that stale: allow local assessor lo hase their assessments on something less than the Full market value of the property. The Nader ffrmm found that assessments ranged from 84 per cent of market value in Portland. Ore., lo a mere 4.fi per cent in Char lotte. R.C. ASSESSMENTS VARY In Charlotte, a $30,000 house was generally assessed at only SI,380 by the local assessor Thus a Charlotte homeowner who knows his house would sel for $30.000 but whose assess merit is only $2,760 might (hink he is getting a break from the assessor. In fact, his house is assessed at 100 per cent more than the average in the cily! The study also showed that n 79 per cent of the areas high-value residential property at a lower percentage of full ·alue than they did low-value .iroperty -- thus making the tax larticularly regressive. The importance ot property axes varies widely from slate o state. In Southern states like Alabama, Louisiana and Arkun- as, it constitutes a relatively mall part of local tax revenue Shipbuilder Pleads Guilty To Charges CLEVELAND, Ohio AP) -The American Ship Building Co. and its chairman and chief executive officer, George M. Steinbrenner III. have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy lo violate federal election campaign contribution laws. The company and Steinbrenner were charged in a fedeal grand jury indictment returned April 5 with contributing illegally to the campaigns of former President Richard M. N'X- on and influential members of Congress. Both had previously pleaded innocent. 'Steinbrenner ,is general partner in the New York Yankees baseball teamj Sadat To Visit U.S. CAIRO (AP) -- President Anwar Sadat will .visit the United States in November for a week to 10 days, Egypt's ambassador in Washington is quoted as saying. Reporting from Washington, Cairo newspapers said on Friday that Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal was consulting with American officials lo make arrangements for the visit. Newspapers quoted Ghorbal as saying Sadat's trip is expected to cover a number of cities in various parts of the United States. Ghorbal said Sadat and P' - es- ident Ford would, sign a number of agreements aimed at broadening cooperation between the two nations. (7.3, II and 14.1 per cent, respectively). But in most oilier states it s a key part of the local' reve- me picture, accounting for 34.2 jer ent of (liana, 37.8 ncr cent in Massachusetts, 31 per cent in Ohio, and 32.3 per cent in California, based on 1971 statistics. The Nader group based its study' only on disparities bet- wccn assessments on single tax money in Inin Connecticut, 38 family houses. It did not consider wider differences in assessment known to exist between houses and commercial or unimproved property. FEDERAL LAW Federal legislation has been proposed lo encourage slates to upgrade local property tax systems and give homeowners more information and easier methods for challenging their assesments. But the proposal has made litlle progress, pri- marily because states jealously guard their property tax pero- galives. The Nader group urges concerned citizens to press their s t a t e representatives and governors for property lax overhauls and to bring lawsuits where necessary to improve the system. It warns against allowing private consulting firms to do state and community-wide reappraisals because they have often been found to do incompetent work. "States and localities should improve their own assessing systems rather than bring in outside contractors, so that they can keep asssstnenls uniform and up-to-date continuously," it said. A copy of the Nader tax report is available by writing to: Public Citizen Tax Reform Research Group, P.O. Box 14198, Ben Franklin Station Washington,' D.C., 20044. Ozark Home and Garden Center HERE NOW! Crimson Sweat WATERMELON $1.49 ea. ICE COLD 7c IB. »/, ml. Wwt Wilt Cliery "W» Give Yourl Grwn Thumb A! 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