Homeowners hit with or facing bigincreases in their property tax bills said Friday they're pleasedwith the relief plan approved by Nevada lawmakers - but theycaution that a California-style Proposition 13 is still apossibility.
"Something had to be done. What was happening was outrageous,"
said Don Rightmire of Genoa, where property values have soared.
"This year is our year for a reassessment, so I knew a big jump
Rightmire, 75, a retiree who with his wife, town historian
Billie Rightmire, tore down an old house and built their home in
1985 for about $120,000, on land that had been in their family
since 1862. Now the property, on Genoa's main street, easily would
sell for $700,000 or more - but they don't plan to sell.
"We're retired and on a fixed income," Rightmire said. "This
has always been a residence and it's probably never going to be
anything else - at least not in my lifetime."
Rightmire said the legislative solution is a good thing because
it means his property taxes will go up only a few hundred dollars
from their current level of about $1,300.
While his values have climbed, "a lot of this was none of our
doing," he said, adding that without the new tax relief law, "we
would have to pay for it."
Would he vote for a California-style Proposition 13 if it's on
the ballot next year? "I'd have to look at it real close,"
Rightmire said. "But as long as (the Legislature) is trying, I
don't know if we have to force them into anything."
Maryanne Ingemanson of Incline Village, who saw her tax bill on
her Tahoe lakefront home double to about $70,000 between 2002 and
2004, said she's relieved that state lawmakers have capped property
tax growth at 3 percent a year for homeowners - but questioned
whether it will ward off a Nevada version of Proposition 13.
Ingemanson, who heads a tax reform group called the Village
League, said the cap will be understandable because it's close to
cost-of-living increases. But she added there may be "some hidden
grenades" that could sour homeowners on the legislators' efforts.
As for a Proposition 13-type plan, "I'd be very surprised if it
did not get on the ballot," she said. "Whether it's successful
depends a lot on how well the 3 percent cap is handled."
Ingemanson, who gets help from her children in paying her
property taxes, said her Lake Tahoe home, bought in 1961 for
$100,000, may be worth far more than that now but it's not
something she could simply sell and walk away from.
Deborah Moore of AARP-Nevada said she's "thrilled" with the
lawmakers' compromise on property tax caps, adding, "Many of our
members are living on fixed incomes and will benefit from this
perhaps more than any other consumers."
Moore added that many people come to Nevada to retire, and
Ingemanson said it's important that any homeowners have a way "of
predicting a budget for your home and how much your taxes will be