There are at least three things that are surprising about the Hewlett-Packard property tax case.
You may be aware that in the Oregon Tax Court in May, HP won an appeal of its property tax assessment for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The first surprise was how far off the state Revenue Department had been, according to the judge, in assessing the value of the HP buildings in Corvallis. The state claimed they were worth about $347 million. The judge said the state appraiser had made big mistakes and agreed with the company that the value was about $181 million.
The second surprise was that under Oregon’s convoluted law, taxing districts way outside of Corvallis — including the city of Albany and Albany schools — have to help pay the whopping refund due HP. It’s because they lie partly in Benton County.
But just as surprising was the third item. The amount that has to be refunded — totaling more than $9 million — is earning HP interest at the rate of 12 percent a year or almost $78,000 per month. Why such an eye-popping rate? Because the state law says so. The law specifies 1 percent per month. Don’t you wish your savings account paid you an interest rate even half as generous as that? (hh)
From Marianne Vandenberg, via Facebook: Disgusting. I’ve earned $1.13 on my savings account to date this year.
From Ted Salmons: I’m sure the tax appraiser that made this huge error has already been praised, rewarded and promoted as seems to be the norm for state employees that never seem to be held accountable for their actions. We know by their re-election rates that the bozos that pass laws like this are constantly rewarded for their non-performance. Or even more importantly their “We don’t care how you voted in initiatives, we’re going to change or ignore them anyway.” Every now and then the government (read voters paying the bills) actually needs to get slapped with a bill like this. Then maybe, just maybe those voters will hold their elected officials and employees accountable. Yeah, that’s right. I know the average voter’s memory is about as long as a goldfish’s in cases like this, but I can dream, can’t I?