Commentary on fraud, scams, scandals, and court cases.

Wisconsin homeowners in danger of losing more rights

Do you think the taxing authorities already have too much control over your wallet? Do you agree that they dip into your money whenever they please? Well if you’re a Wisconsin homeowner, there’s a good chance it could be worse.

Bill 2007 AB 580 is sitting on Governor Jim Doyle’s desk, and if he signs it, we’re screwed.

Real Debate Wisconsin explains the laws as they currently stand:

Under current law if you disagree with your property tax assessment you have the right to a hearing in front of a local board on that issue. If you disagree with the ruling of that board you have the right to appeal to the Circuit Court.

Under the current situation people had a nasty habit of winning those appeals at the Circuit Court level. Well, the assessors got together and lobbied the legislature for changes to the current system and AB 580 was passed by a vote of 94 to 3 in the Assembly and 32 to 1 in the Senate.

And here’s Real Debate Wisconsin’s explanation of the pending law:

Under AB 580 the review board must now grant a 60-day extension to the tax payers objection. The board also gets to assess a new snappy $100 fee to that rabble rousing tax payer (assuming the municipality allows the extension). A hundred bucks for disagreeing with the assessor, isn’t that special!

Under the new bill the court is forced to make the assumption that the valuation by the assessor is correct.

You read that correctly, the court is forced by AB 580 to assume the assessor is correct. So much for the opportunity for a fair hearing in the Circuit Court. Our state government has legislated that the court favor the assessor.

The court finding may be “rebutted by a sufficient showing by the taxpayer that the valuation is incorrect.”

So whereas the homeowner used to be able to go into court on a level playing field and both the assessor and the homeowner had to present their cases regarding the assessment/valuation of the house…

Now it is no more. The assessor is assumed to be correct unless the homeowner can show otherwise. How is that fair?

Obviously, the assessors use a lot of judgment in making their assessments, and I think it’s clear that the government has a motivation to increase those assessments as much as they can. I just fought my assessment this year, and to be honest, I don’t believe that numbers that were thrown around as “market value” of my home were realistic.

Taxpayers need to put pressure on Governor Doyle and make sure he doesn’t sign this bill!

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