Ohio State legislators recently picked your pocket and you don't even know it.
How did it feel?
Not since the fornicator-in-chief debated the meaning of the word "is" has a simple verb been used to impose such an outrage on our citizens.
Perhaps most disturbing is the sneaky way that our representatives carried out this larceny with barely a ripple in the media.
Here's the story.
Your property taxes are decided by the county auditor's determination of the fair market value of your home or business real estate.
Obviously, the market itself reflects value.
If your property sells for $100,000 in the competitive arena of commerce, then the fair market value is $100,000.
Up until September 2012, that was the law.
Ohio Revised Code Section 5713.03 stated that the county auditor "shall" set the true value of your property at the same dollar amount as the purchase price obtained in a recent arm's-length transaction.
Simply stated, you cannot be taxed for a property value set higher than the dollar amount you recently paid in a good faith purchase of a parcel.
With virtually no coverage in newspapers, the internet, television, or radio, the people you send to Columbus screwed you.
They passed House Bill 487, which changed the word from "shall" to "may".
The law stating that the county auditor "shall" set the value to be the same as a recent purchase price was very quietly rewritten to state that the county auditor "may" set the value to be the same as a recent purchase price.
Greedy County officials, anxious to inflate their tax collections, have now been given permission to ignore the true value of your property as determined by the economy.
They can now eschew that recent sale price and set the value at a level significantly higher because some political hack appraiser appointed by the county wants to keep his bosses happy.
After all, what is a major source of County revenue?
You guessed it: real estate taxes.
County fiscal officers continue to set values into the stratosphere despite the fact that your average chimpanzee can see that neighborhood values have crashed and remain at historically low levels.
The only slight chance the little guy had to defeat this self-serving system lay in the mandatory "shall" language of Ohio Revised Code 5713.03.
Now the little guy has been sliced into mincemeat through this barely noticed new law converting the word "shall" to "may".
I am disgusted by this bit of real estate tax skullduggery.
Our politicians are so starved for your money that they are willing to completely disconnect the process of county auditor valuation from reality.
In other words, your property is not worth what the market determines in an actual transaction: it's worth what the government says it's worth.
Listen, you Columbus lawmakers, if you don't fix this atrocity, the voters will say that you are worth the contents of this parenthesis
How's that for a reality check for politicians?
Have a nice day.