Indiana, PA - Indiana County

KEITH ZACK: Reassessment a chance to rethink taxation

on December 21, 2012 11:00 AM

In response to the article titled "Firm: County tax assessment seriously flawed":

It is good that the county commissioners are realizing the illegality of the current property tax system of Indiana County.

Though this situation may appear as an obstacle to overcome, it is actually an opportunity to progress and become an example to follow.

Taxing a property owner's real estate is not the only way of taxation and is certainly not the only way of creating revenue for the county, schools and municipalities.

Doing a countywide reassessment is very labor intensive, time consuming and, most important, costly. Realize that this form of taxation becomes unconstitutional after just a few short years and the costly reassessments must be done again.

There is already a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that declares base year assessments greater than 10 years unconstitutional. This is a precedent already set and would almost certainly require that Indiana County continue reassessments every 10 years or even more frequently.

Do we want to be a county that pays for reassessments every 10 years? Do we want to deal with the multitude of assessment challenges that follow every reassessment? Potential residents and businesses are hesitant to move to a county that cannot offer certainty in its tax bill.

This is the chance for the county to consider all possibilities and not have a vision only of the past. Elected officials are expected to be leaders and not followers. It is a prime opportunity for Indiana County to lead and succeed.

Will the commissioners progress with innovative ideas, or shackle the county to the chains of the past?

Keith Zack

Homer City

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