James Strahan, Taney County Assessor, took his fight to Jefferson City last week to bring the standoff between the Missouri Tax Commission and Taney County to an end. The tax assets's office funding is split evenly between the County and the State. Missouri halted their half of funding before Christmas resulting in layoffs of several officials in the office. December 06 taxes collected have provided funding relief for the office since the state began the fiscal strangulation process for Strahan's non-compliance. Strahan's argument for not increasing the taxes by the rate suggested by the state is based on a three year index as opposed to the states formula based on 2006 data. Strahan argues short term trends fail to reflect the real value of property and the state of Missouri is playing a political game for reasons other than those placed on the table; specifically, financial and legislative interests from the urban parts of the state. Strahan withholds an agreement reached between Missouri and Taney County wasn't honored after the state received MLS (Multi List Service) data from a local real estate agent. Older homes and a hot trend in Branson area real estate are two underlying issues behing the debate. County formula's are based on what it costs to buy land and build in addition to a sample of sales data aquired through the office. The sample used is based on a few hundred transactions gathered each year.
Not everyone agrees taxes are properly assessed, local attorney Harry Styron takes issue with the way commercial property is assessed claiming current income should be a factor in determining property value.
Taney County Commissioner Danny Strahan openly criticized the press for not mentioning/printing 6 letters from the office's laid off employees affirming support for the Taney County Assessor's office policies.
Chuck Pennel and James Strahan briefly squared off briefly yesterday over the timeline for rehiring the laid off employees. Chuck questioned why they weren't hired back immediately, Strahan is pushing for legal counsel's advice and possible actions from the state before taking his staff off unemployment.
In an interview yesterday, Straham said, "I am not a puppet of the state, I was elected by the citizen's of Taney County...."
Tea party anyone?
Letters of Support For Strahan's Laid Off Employees