A nice little endorsement for S.T.O.P.
(and maybe it's not so little)

There's a press release that went out today from the Black Hills Home Builders Association. And it just happens to be endorsing Senator Bill Napoli's newly christened "Amendment D" (more casually known as the STOP measure.)

Here's the release for your review:

CONTACT: Janette McIntyre, Executive Vice President
Black Hills Home Builders Association

November 7, 2006 is "D" Day!

Amendment D certified to be the people of South Dakota's largest constitutional petition drive in history receives the first fundraising check. Black Hills Home Builders Association's 2006 President, Randy Long of Long Design and Construction presented the check to Senator Napoli yesterday.

"The association has been a supporter of this amendment since petitions were circulated. Many of the issues with economic development and housing developments specifically have much to gain with this amendment," stated Long.

Janette McIntyre, Executive Vice President of BHHBA explained, "In many cases the current residents of an area fear development because they risk an increase in their assessments and an increase in their property tax bill. This amendment will not allow a neighboring property to affect your assessment regardless if you are ag, residential or commercial. The property tax assessment will only change when you sell your property."

Although the arguments opposing Amendment "D" have been surfacing, many show that those opposing the amendment do not understand the complex property tax issue and what Amendment D will do. STOP committee members have been invited to several venues to help educate citizens on the amendment. Members of the committee can be contacted for presentations at 341-2370 or 348-7850.

"There is a fear that this will hurt schools' or counties' revenues. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because the mil levy was not included as part of the amendment, schools and counties will continue to receive the same amount of money," according to McIntyre.

Although the official fundraising drive will begin after the first of the year, BHHBA wanted to lend early support. Unlike contributions to candidates, corporations and businesses can contribute any amount for a constitutional amendment campaign. According to Long, "this may be one of the largest grassroots efforts in South Dakota history. When the government won't change how property taxes are assessed it's up to the people."

STOP website: www.STOP2006.org can provide information as well as email either Senator Napoli: billnapoli@gmail.com

Janette McIntyre: jkmcintyre@rushmore.com
This is a suprising early endorsement of this measure which, until now, hasn't heard much mention from organizations, except for a few odd doom and gloom predictions. The Black Hills Home Builders Association is a very active group out in the western part of the state, and they usually aren't afraid to put their money where their mouth is.

This endorsement may very well signal the beginning of groups lining up for and against this measure. And to their credit, the STOP measure is starting out the campaign with a nice little feather in their cap in the form of this endorsement.


Anonymous said…
The BHHBA suggest the property tax issue is complex. However, there is nothing complex about arguments in the Brochure at the STOP sign.

So, then, why should arguments againt STOP have to meet a standard of intelligence, understanding, or wisdom that far exceed the rhetorical demagoguery that is laid out by STOP as their own standard?

So far, all I have largely seen supporting STOP is the possibly informed opinion of several different people. However, the Rapid City Journal, Friday, posted a story about a couple of guys who were trying to look at sets of data, on a different idea about fair taxation of residential property.

But, the sad thing about it is just this: I have not yet seen one study by STOP's group, yet, that purports to examine the consequences of this Amendment becoming the governing law of SD.

Where are the studies that tell us what range of impacts we may expect on housing and property market, immediately, in 10 years, in the long run?

What studies do we have that talk about the economic distortions of capitalism that caps represent? Whenever Government chooses a structural rule (which is what a Constitutional provision is), and when that rule imposes itself on free markets, and the buyers and sellers therein, the Government has interfered in the market and distorted the economy's natural workings.

Those of us who believe in free markets know they are imperfect, and that sometimes we have to do something. But, whenever we are finally forced to do something, our program should be narrowly tailored and limited -- the benefits should be limited and the beneficiaries should not become permanently entitled to such benefits.

Napoli's scheme provides benefits forever, and permanently entitles its new class of beneficiaries to receive their discounted property tax appraisals.

Imagine this: for a long time, everyone stays living in a nice old neighborhood of 10 houses, each assessed at $50,000. One day, Smith dies and his estate sells his old home. The house sells for $500,000. The late Smith's former neighbors, while missing their old friend Smith, rub their hands together gladly: their nine houses are assessed at (by tax law) $450,000 -- and the buyer of that old house of Smith's next door has a house that is (by tax law) assessed at $500,000. So, the new buyer will pay more in property taxes, for his one property than all the rest of the property owners in the neighborhood.

And, yet, those blssed old neighbors can still go to the bank and borrow home equity against the imputed real market value of their homes! Napoli just wants to poke the eyes of government out, or blow government's brains out, so that Government can not officlally notice what is an economic fact of life: property values rise and fall according to market conditions -- and the present appraisal system, however complex, is much fairer, in an economic sense, than the simpler scheme Napoli proposes.

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