From Roy Whiteley, Founder, Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation:
Last year, the Senate voted overwhelming 46 to 0 to pass Senator Barry Glassman’s SB 69 – now SB 86, the right of taxpayers to record their property tax assessment hearings. The Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) lobbyist, who is paid with taxpayer funds, rushed into the House offices assuring all Delegates who would listen, that passage of this bill to become law was unnecessary since SDAT would agree to allow hearings at the first, assessor and second, PTAAB levels at the taxpayer’s expense and with the taxpayers’ own equipment. Hearings at the third, Tax Court level are mandatory and are made by the Court. The House bill sponsored by Delegate Kathy Szelgia died in committee as a result.
This bill is still desired and needed because, unbelievably, the Department of Assessments and Taxation along with the Property Tax Assessments Appeals Boards that hear all taxpayer assessment appeals of our unfair and uncoordinated with current market conditions property assessments, have reluctantly allowed said hearings to be made BUT issued the following notice to those indicating the desire to record their hearings. The notice reads “Although there is no requirement to allow you to record the hearings, it is at the discretion of the Local Board. We have determined that we will allow you to record the hearings; however; if it becomes disruptive, the Board may request you to stop the recording of the hearings.” We viewed this notice as intimidating and so did some of our Harford County legislators. Several of our followers who planned to record their hearings declined to do so after hearing of this notice. Thus, the intimidation served its purpose. Hence, the bill is reintroduced to hopefully become law that SDAT must adhere to. Obviously, they are not trustworthy.
Increditably, there are no uniform rules or regulations regarding the recording of appeals hearings. The taxpayer fortunate enough to own property in several jurisdictions, desiring to record their hearing as a learning tool for future reference in additional appeals, might find they were unquestionably allowed to do so in one county but not another. One might even be mistakenly told it is against the law or even be denied a hearing for attempting to record a hearing as we can show has actually happened. Taxpayers are being denied a right to record a public hearing even though all of your public hearings are recorded as are the Tax Court hearings. This right can now be corrected and guaranteed if you urge your legislators to pass this simple piece of legislation. There is no cost to the State.
The Budget and Taxation Committee will conduct a hearing on this bill on February 1, 2012 at 3:00 P.M. in the Senate Office Building hearing room. We urge everyone to phone, write or e-mail the Budget and Taxation Chair Kasemeyer, Vice-Chair McFadden and committee members as well as your respective legislators asking for support of this bill. E-mail addresses are in this format followed by @senate.state.md.us
Remember Nothing Happens, Unless We Make It Happen!!
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Thank You, Roy Whiteley, Founder