From H. LeRoy Whiteley, Jr., president of Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation:
Yesterday we testified on two bills relative to property tax issues that affect us all. Perhaps it was the weather but we feel, more likely, most property taxpayers are just resigned to the fact that their taxes are going to remain unfair and out of sync with the market value and the bureaucrats that run the assessment and taxation system will just be allowed to run the show as they please because we saw no support present to help further our efforts. We just seem to accept that our rights are being trampled more and more every day without making viable attempts to protect those rights. Maybe someday we will have half the gumption to fight back without the violence that we are witnessing in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, we get laws passed that have good meaning and intent BUT the rules and regulations that govern the enforcement of the law are written by the affected agency’s staff lawyers and staff. They write to protect their turf not necessarily what the legislators really intended. This point was brought home yesterday as we testified on SB 69 the right to record your tax assessment hearing, a learning tool that may help you perfect a better appeal strategy for your next appeal effort. Two hearing committee senators expressed some dismay that taxpayers were not given the right to record their hearings even noting that they are PUBLIC hearings just as the one they were listening to is public and recorded. As usual most of our ruling legislators at all levels of government are totally out of touch with the real outside world. Despite the lack of support, we feel that the SB 55 effort to increase the number of alternate members of the PTAAB boards was not too well receive as we pointed out other solutions. The SB 69 right to record hearing seemed to be well received so we feel encouraged about its chances. Kent Finkelsen, the PTAAB boards Administrator testified that he would not oppose this legislation. Only time will tell.
Probably our next effort will be the House version of these same two bills followed by our annual effort by Senator Glassman to get the Task Force bill introduced and passed to study the whole process of reforming the assessment and taxation system. PLEASE check out www.mlis.state.md.us to ascertain hearing schedules. THEN write your support e-mails and letters and show up for the hearings.
Roy Whiteley, Founder