The Dec. 25 story “School taxes go up as do market values” describes the myth concocted to hide the real reason taxes are going up: Schools and the government are simply spending more money.

I initially believed this excuse, accepting that my taxes when up because my home value went up, as that only makes sense, right? But when you realize that it wasn’t just your value that went up, that everyone’s value went up, their excuse falls apart.

My estimated market value increased by 9.21% this year, but if you ask the assessors, everyone’s market value went up, most 10% this past year. So my taxes didn’t go up because my estimated property value increased, it’s because the county/city/school are spending more!

Look at it this way: If you have 10 $150,000 properties and the school budget is $1,000, each property would owe $100. If the following year all 10 of those properties increased in value to $165,000, they would still only owe $100 each if the budget stayed the same.

Sherburne County in 2021 is divided up into 43,328 parcels, an increase of 1,960 parcels over the prior year, not because the country is physically gaining more dirt, but because parcels are being split and people are building homes/businesses on them. Elk River takes up almost 10% of the county, so let’s estimate that Elk River grew by 196 parcels. If the school budget had stayed the same from the prior year, the total cost for each property owner should have dropped as instead of the cost being divided among 4,136 properties, it would have been divided over 4,332 properties. But no, the cost per property has gone up by an estimated 3.6%.

This is the “truth in taxation.” — Bret R. Collier, Big Lake

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