Posted by Jennifer Bestor, a resident of another community, on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm
Dennis, Well, why do you think a life-long (check the voter rolls) Republican's campaign contributions have been to Democratic candidates over the past few years? Any chance that life-long Republicans might think that "tax-cut and spend" is not fiscal conservatism? That gutting and defanging oversight boards of federally insured industries is not sound financial management? That going to war in Iraq 'off' balance sheet was irresponsible?
And sorry you think I'm ignorant. Can you tell me how it is that businesses pay sales taxes without customers? I sure thought it was me paying that tax. Do I get to take it off my bill next time and tell the merchant to pay his own tax? Or are you talking about the sales tax that a business pays on its own purchases?
And can you explain the difference in payroll, income and business license taxes paid by businesses in properties bought in the last ten years (i.e., full assessed value, full tax) vs. those in properties bought over 30 years ago (i.e., paying one fifth the property tax of their competitors')?
Do you even know which property is which? Most people can't tell. I was sure surprised as I found old businesses in properties with new bases (our iconic Golden Shears) and new businesses in properties with old assessed bases (Miyo Yogurt -- just opened three weeks ago, fabulous mix-ins).
And, finally, which new commercial developments in the area did I ignore? Indeed, I dutifully included the Glenwood Inn for Seniors (which had been exempt property and is paying a lot of tax -- lest seniors always be blamed), I noted that Menlo Center (housing Kepler's -- our beloved bookstore) is ponying up $200K+ a year), ... indeed, if I missed a commercial development in our school district, so did the Assessor.
So, yes, the Almanac chose a small number of facts to print out of the landslide I provided them with -- including the fact that, in all the Menlo Park City School District parcels that I analyzed, the percentage drop was from 20% to 9% for commercial parcel tax contribution. But I was looking at total assessed land and improvements value -- not number of parcels. And these were facts. And they are germane to the discussion of property tax.
If you want to fix government spending and pensions, go for it! Go do it, Dennis. I salute you. I'll fix revenue, if you'll fix spending. Between us, we might just create a stronger state with a fair and productive business climate.