Navy economic study includes a ‘glaring overstatement of taxes’

Editor,

I am retired from the Island County Assessor’s Office (2007). In my 23 years as a deputy assessor, I served approximately 20 years as the property tax levy analyst where my duties included calculating the annual property tax levies for all tax levying entities in the county, including inter-county jurisdictions.

In reading the paper today, I find what appears to be a glaring overstatement of taxes uncollected because of the Navy presence. Under the sub-head “Hidden costs,” the study author is quoted as saying, “The county is losing an estimated $5.7 million a year in sales and property taxes that it would otherwise collect from employees of a equivalently sized private industry.”

Property taxes are calculated on the (taxing district) budget divided into the (taxing district) taxable assessed value. I fail to see how the Navy presence affects anything but the total (taxable and non-taxable) value. If the Navy properties paid local property taxes all that would happen is the levy rate would be reduced due to an increase in “taxable” value (but the same dollars would be collected). In other words, the affected property owners would each pay a little lower levy rate calculated on a larger value. That is the state law.

Island County presently enjoys one of the lowest regular property tax levies in the state. It is only driven up by voter approved excess levies.

If you have any questions on my observations, please write or call.

Respectfully,

NORMAN BANTA

Oak Harbor

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