Have you received your property tax bill for 2009?

I’ve heard complaints from homeowners in both Erie County and Lorain County that tax appraisal valuations have kept increasing recently even though the bottom has been falling out of the northern Ohio housing market since 2000.

I think it’s worth noting that County Auditors will be up for election in 2010, and it’s not too early for challengers to launch campaigns and start raising money.  Just fill out a Designation of Treasurer form for your campaign committee and submit it to the Board of Elections, as I’ve written about in this blog entry, and you’ll have the greenlight to start raising campaign funds.  You won’t have to worry about circulating petitions until the beginning of next year.  In my opinion, both Erie County Auditor Tom Paul and Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart are tyrants that ought to be replaced by voters.

I understand that the property valuation should be a rolling average of at least the past three years, so perhaps there might be a little bit of a lag between what the market value drops to and what the tax valuation drops to, but I’m hearing complaints that tax valuations in the two counties keep creeping UP, not down.  I’ve seen tax valuations for properties that are higher than the selling price ever was and higher than the marketplace could ever sustain.  Such practices amount to nothing short of a money grab by county government, specifically, the County Auditors’ offices.  Some politicians don’t respect the citizens enough to put tax increase proposals on the ballot, and some even ignore the citizens after they have voted down tax increases, and they use these ever-upward-creeping assessed property values to artificially inflate tax revenues.  Meanwhile, it’s no secret that REAL market values for homes have been plummeting for eight or nine years now, and assessed values should have been dropping downward to reflect that dynamic.

So what should you do beyond vote out these tax-grabbing county auditors?

That Woman’s Weblog has an excellent article on this very topic.  It is possible for you to request an appeal of your home’s tax appraisal valuation.  Please check it out and follow up.  Don’t let yourself be a victim of artificially inflated tax appraisal valuations.

Kasich, Husted, Mandel, Latta, Gillmor, Wagner, Boose in Tiffin last night

Former Columbus-area Congressman John Kasich gave the keynote speech at the Seneca and Sandusky Counties’ Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner last night (Feb. 5, 2009) in Tiffin.  I was in attendance to hear what he and others had to say.  You can check out this related article from the Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune, if you like.  Others who spoke from the podium included Dayton-area State Senator and former Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, Cleveland-area State Representative Josh Mandel, and local Congressman Bob Latta.  Local State Senator Karen Gillmor and local State Representatives Jeff Wagner and Terry Boose were also in attendance, but did not speak.

As many in the blogosphere have already guessed, Kasich is giving serious thought to running for Ohio Governor in 2010, Jon Husted is giving serious thought to running for Ohio Secretary of State in 2010, and Josh Mandel is giving serious thought to running for Ohio Treasurer in 2010.  They confirmed from their own mouths that they were giving serious thought to running for these statewide positions, though none of them were ready to officially announce for certain that they were seeking these seats.

We’ve heard that Ohio has lost much more than 200,000 jobs since 2000.  Kasich is letting everyone know that Ohio has lost much more than 100,000 thousand jobs since Ted Strickland took office in early 2007.  Kasich is also letting everyone know that Ohio is dead last or nearly dead last among the fifty states for new business start-ups in virtually any way one chooses to measure such a statistic.  On the topics of both Ohio’s economy and Ohio’s education system, Kasich sees that under current leadership, Ohio is spiraling ever downward and out of control.  He likened the current national and statewide decay of our standard of living as what we’ve experienced during the Jimmy Carter Administration, with Democrats at the time telling us to lower our expectations for what the future had in store.  Ronald Reagan rejected the dismal forecasts and chose a bolder path.  John Kasich urged Republicans in attendance to reject the path of Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and Strickland.  He asked everyone to mobilize to turn Ohio around, starting with visiting the website www.RechargeOhio.com and signing up.

Husted echoed Kasich’s sentiments and reiterated some of Kasich’s statistics.

Mandel charmed the crowd with some self-deprecating humor about his youthful appearance, while reminding everyone of the dedicated women and men who serve in the armed forces.  He held up a pair of shoes with the soles and heels worn out from canvassing neighborhoods during his state rep campaigns, and promised he wouldn’t be outworked by his opponents if he officially undertakes the statewide campaign to become Ohio Treasurer.

Congressman Latta delivered the most red meat, as he hammered away at the foolishness of the bailout packages and the proposed economic stimulus bill.  Latta seemed quite genuine in his conservative assessment of the shenanigans on Capitol Hill, and the crowd reaction was very favorable.

Several local politicians were present, as well, with Seneca County Engineer Mark Zimmerman capturing much of the spotlight, since he emceed the event.