A panel of three assessors and the state’s Legislative Revenue Office made presentations Wednesday on property tax assessments to a joint meeting of the Senate Finance and Revenue and House Revenue Committees, chaired by Senator Mark Hass (D-Portland) and Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) respectively. Property tax revenues are up 4.7 percent for Fiscal Year 2016-17 to $6.4 billion. Compression losses have declined, but $145.4 million is still projected to be lost. The statewide total property tax revenue increase is positive, but increased costs, looming deferred maintenance and other infrastructure needs will still mean net budget challenges for many cities. Property tax reform is one of the League’s top legislative priorities for the 2017 session.
All three county assessors noted that real market values (RMV) have increased significantly as the Oregon economy continues to grow, but due to Measure 50 most taxes will be calculated based on the discounted assessed value (AV). Measure 50 requires the assessment of taxes on whichever is lower, AV or RMV. The gap between AV and RMV continues to grow in many parts of the state, exacerbating significant tax inequities between similarly valued homes. For example, Clackamas County Assessor Bob Vroman noted that RMV increased by 12.7 percent in his county, but AV for most properties will only increase by 3 percent. Deschutes County Assessor Scot Langton said that the inequities, lack of tax relief programs for seniors and low income residents, and the 3 percent growth limit were key concerns expressed during this property tax assessment cycle. Several legislators signaled support for addressing the system’s problems, particularly the tax inequities between homes with similar real market values. They noted dissatisfaction with the complexity, lack of fairness and arbitrary nature of the system.
Property taxes are annually assessed, with statements mailed to property owners in October. The first payments are due by November 15. A new practice with the Legislature is to annually receive property tax revenue projections for the upcoming year shortly after the November due date.
Contact: Wendy Johnson, Intergovernmental Relations Associate – firstname.lastname@example.org