The Edmond Sun

Opinion

December 3, 2012

Why did your Logan County property tax go up?

GUTHRIE — When many of House District 31 residents, who also live in Logan County, received their new property tax assessments last April, they noticed a refreshing sight. Their property assessment stayed the same or may have even dropped.

This is because the Logan County Assessor has been embarking on a thorough multi-year process of streamlining and standardizing the criteria used to assess property. It is her goal to put in place fair criteria so that everyone’s assessment can be easily explained and fairly applied. This has brought to an end the years of ever-increasing property tax assessments that have left so many Logan County residents frustrated and dismayed.

So you can only imagine the surprise and outrage of those who live in the Crescent, Coyle and Edmond school districts a few days ago when they received their property tax bills and noted an increase in their bill even though the assessment had not increased and they did not expect an increase in the actual amount due.

During the past few days, my office has received multiple inquiries from local residents who are very upset because they didn’t expect this increase.

How did this happen?

Over the course of the past years, the voters in these school districts have approved bond issues. When a public school district issues a bond, a new tax is placed upon the voter’s property, regardless of the fact that the County Assessor did not increase his valuation.

Unfortunately, many of those who are upset about the increase may not have voted in the tax increase election simply because they didn’t know about it. Invariably, the elections take place during the winter when few people realize that it is even occurring.

One voter expressed his displeasure with the fact that while he votes in Guthrie, his home is within the Crescent school district. It didn’t make sense to him that he would need to drive into Guthrie to vote on a Crescent bond issue on a winter day when most people didn’t even realize an election was taking place.

All of this leads to the fact that large property tax increases are usually approved by a very small percentage of the electorate.

I believe there are very few good excuses for not voting. It is important for individuals to stay informed and keep track of these issues. But it is also imperative for the Legislature to significantly reduce the number of days upon which elections can take place. Local government entities are notorious for picking low turnout election dates when they can push through a tax increase. The outcome of these elections are easily manipulated by the direct beneficiaries of the tax increase.

Even now, it appears that Oklahoma County government is rapidly advancing a large, proposed sales tax increase that will be considered on a March election day when few are expected to vote.

We must bring this practice to an end!

Local and school board elections and all tax increase attempts should take place simultaneously with the major election dates upon which most of the electorate votes. This would ensure that many more voters have a voice in these matters and would allow voters to have a referendum on the politicians who propose the tax increase on the exact same day the tax is considered. If the voters don’t like the proposal, they can remove the politician from office on the same day they defeat the tax.

It seems this type of proposal is considered by the Legislature almost every year. I certainly believe we should approve it and start to whittle down the number of days during which elections can be held.

Until then, I absolutely encourage area residents to stay engaged on policy issues at all levels of government. No one should have to pay a tax increase that they didn’t even know they had a vote on. A tax increase should never go into law simply because a micro-segment of the population says it should.

REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Welfare state grows as self-sufficiency declines

    For the past 50 years, the government’s annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting.
    After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all official poverty in the U.S.
    How can the government spend so much while poverty remains unchanged? The answer is simple: The Census Bureau’s “poverty” figures are woefully incomplete.

    August 1, 2014

  • Let laughter reign in Turkey

    This week, Bulent Arinc, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, verbally chastised Turkish women for laughing in public. Before we take a closer look at these remarks — in the interest of full disclosure — I need to confess a personal bias. I love to hear my wife’s laughter. Sometimes, when I review the day’s highlights, the most pleasant thing that comes to mind is her laugh — it’s frequent, genuine, pleasantly-pitched, melodious, appropriately timed, infectious and charming.

    August 1, 2014

  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results