From H. Leroy Whiteley, Jr., founder, Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation:
HEARING NOTICE HB 881 TASK FORCE TO STUDY PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT AND APPEALS PROCESS.
WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
MARCH 2, 2012
This year our most important bill is being introduced by Delegate Glen Glass of the Harford County delegation and member of the Ways and Means Committee. The bill requires a task force to conduct studies of the archaic, biased, inequitable, non-uniform, outdated, subjective, and unfair property tax assessment procedures and assessment appeals system to make evaluations and recommendations to improve the operation and conduct of the property tax assessment and appeals system. The task force will be staffed with select citizens having professional backgrounds and expertise conducive to conducting a review of the current assessment system, evaluate its effectiveness, study alternative methods of creating assessments which would result in fair, uniform, and equitable assessments commensurate with current market values, recommend and adopt positive reforms to the property tax assessment procedure and appeals process that will be beneficial to both the State and its taxpayers. See www.mlis.state.md.us. Fill in bill number HB 881 for full details.
HEARING NOTICE HB 880 PROPERTY TAX CREDIT FOR SENIOR CITIZEN PROPERTY OWNERS
WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
FEBRUARY 28, 2012
Delegate Glass introduces this bill to allow the granting of a tax credit on real property owned and used as the principal residence by property owners at least 60 years old and of limited income, applying to tax years starting 2012. See www.mlis.state.md.us. Fill in bill number HB 880 for full details.
Unfortunately, many of those that we elect fail to see, hear, or listen to us. They are completely out of touch with the real world. We have to make them understand the facts of life. We need to do it now!!!! We need to fill the hearing room to make our presence known. NUMBERS COUNT!!!! WEAR RED!!!! We think that by design, these hearings often become “lengthy” and “shuffled” to the rear of the schedule resulting in many supporters leaving before a bill hearing is actually heard. We would suggest that you arrange car pools and be prepared to wait out the committee. We need numbers in the seats and good testimony to show your concern, interest, and support. You do not have to testify BUT for those who wish to testify — you must sign up in person at the hearing room at least one hour before the hearing. You should send a hard copy or email your testimony to Delegate Glen Glass (firstname.lastname@example.org) Room 325 House Office Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 Phone (800) 492 7122 X3280. He will have the necessary 35 copies produced for distribution to the committee and can register for you to testify if you let him know.
Contact the members of the Ways and Means Committee —- e-mail addresses (chair listed first) are all in this format followed by @house.state.md.us
Fill their mail boxes and let them know we want these bills passed from committee to the floor where they can be acted upon by ALL the legislators we elect— NOT JUST A SELECT FEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS!!!! ALSO, contact your respective delegates and tell them to sign on to cosponsor and support this legislation.
Remember, Nothing Happens Unless We Make It Happen!!!!!
SB 86 Right to Record
Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer
Chairman, Budget and Taxation Committee
3 West Miller Senate Office Building
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
RE: SB 86 Right to Record
Dear Senator Kasemeyer
Thank you for your February 14, 2012 letter explaining the reason the Budget and Taxation committee has voted unfavorably on Senate Bill 86 – Right to Record.
Naturally we are disappointed but mostly we are astonished that a proposed measure the committee last year overwhelming supported and the full senate passed 46 to 0 has been completely reversed this year. The reversal apparently is the result of testimony furnished by two men supposedly working for and with the interest of the State and its taxpayers as their paramount concern. Unfortunately for us taxpayers these men betrayed us by outright lying to you and the committee at the February 8, 2012 hearing. We wish we could be more gentlemanly with our choice of words but facts are facts.
Following the hearing we sent you and the committee members a follow-up letter to the hearing testimony wherein we cited several instances where their testimony was less than truthful. A copy of the letter showing instances that refute testimony that “the State policy to allow taxpayers the right to record their hearings has always been in place and has never been denied.” is patently false.
No where have we ever seen published any information giving taxpayers notice of this policy or right. In fact in 2010 when Senator Glassman introduced SB 724 a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights including this right to record, these same men vehemently opposed publishing such notice. That bill also died in committee.
Nowhere in any of the three brochures available to taxpayers, i.e. “Property Owner’s Bill of Rights”, “Assessment Appeal Process” and “A Homeowner’s Guide to Property Taxes and Assessments” do we see, or have we ever seen, any indication that the taxpayer has the right to record his hearing. We appeal property assessments in several counties every year. NEVER, and that’s a pretty strong word, have we ever been notified in advance that we had the right to record. Conversely, we have personally been denied no less than 4 times requiring in one case appeal all the way to the Tax Court before being allowed to even have a hearing. Mr. Finkelsen, Administrator to the board hearing the case, was seated immediately behind us, thereby bearing witness on one of those occasions but yet had the gall to testify that the policy was to allow recording and never to deny such recordings. At that hearing Mr. Finkelsen actually encouraged us to proceed without trying to record the hearing which had been remanded to said PTAAB board from the Tax Court. and which we were again attempting to record.
Your letter states “The department testified before the committee that all local appeals boards would be notified in writing that the Right to Record policy to allow taxpayers to record their hearings has always been in place and cannot be denied.” As stated before we would challenge these men to provide proof of those statements. They do not exist. Further, the written notice should not be limited to the appeals boards since assessors have committed and continue to commit the same restrictive denials.
We hope we will see an improvement in SDAT’s policy but must reserve judgment to see if words will be backed with deeds.
Again, we thank you for taking the time to respond directly to us on this matter.
H. Leroy Whiteley, Jr.