To the editor:
I read your “Our View” editorial entitled “Something’s Wrong Here” and, initially, was concerned that property taxes were out of control. However, after I thought about the issue for a while I realized the numbers you used in the editorial are largely meaningless, because you don’t account for inflation in your calculations.
In other words, the only meaningful comparison is to use constant dollars so that you compare equivalent values. Using the simple “CPI calculator” at the Bureau of Labor Statistic website (bls.gov) 81.5 cents in July 2006 (the beginning of FY 2007) now has the same value as $1.20 in February 2023. Therefore, it is wrong to assert that taxes have in- creased 76% in that period because you are not comparing constant dollar values. In fact, it might be possible to argue that in constant dollars, the tax rate had dropped over that period.
Similarly, the average assessed valuation of $527,000 in July 2006 would be $779,079 in February 2023 using the same calculation. I will leave it to the econometricians to determine if the actual increases in property tax rates exceed inflation over this period, but what is clear is that the percentage increase, if any, has been less than the 76% your editorial claims. I would also assume that for many property taxpayers, their incomes have increased since 2006 as well. The most vulnerable are those on fixed incomes.
Failing to consider or address these issues makes your editorial misleading and incomplete. You can do better.
-Donald Griffin, Alexandria