Couldn't say it any better myself.
Will anyone in the Legislature from New Orleans step up to the plate?
Gotta give it up to the T-P's Kate Moran for an excellent piece profiling a filing loophole that helps really rich d-bags avoid accurate property tax assessments. People like celebrity personal injury attorney Morris Bart are not paying their legal fair share and it's a bunch of BS.
State law requires buyers and sellers of real estate to include the price of their transaction on the deed, but consumers wanting to shield their personal business from neighbors, employers or former spouses sometimes skirt the requirement by entering a nominal sum such as that
The practice creates a minor headache for real estate agents, who like to keep up with price trends in different neighborhoods, and a more serious conundrum for property tax assessors, who rely on the sale price to determine the fair market value of a home. It can also lead to inequities in tax assessments.
Personal injury attorney Morris Bart and his wife purchased their home on Audubon Place for $4.5 million in 2007, a price that was likewise not disclosed on the deed. Sixth District Assessor Nancy Marshall valued the home at $3.29 million, a figure she said was based on the prevailing price per square foot in the gated subdivision. Bart's law office said he was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
It's a totally stupid loophole. The costs totally outweigh the benefits and it needs to be closed. Seems like a no-brainer.
The best part of the article described an effort to close the loophole from the recent past:
Early this decade, the assessor in Lafayette led a push for the Legislature to create such a disclosure. The assessor, Conrad Comeaux, said the effort failed because legislators could not decide who would pay for processing the form or who would enforce its filing. Clerks of court did not want to perform the job on behalf of assessors, and many assessors felt their offices did not have the money or the staff to handle more paperwork.
I'm having a hard time describing how I feel about that paragraph. In many ways, it is emblematic of Louisiana politics and Louisiana media in that it glosses over a totally ridiculous and incredible example of governmental incompetence as legitimate or quotidian. I mean how hard is it to determine who is responsible for filing a paper form. A paper form!!! It's one of those things that you accidentally stop getting angry about the longer you follow Louisiana politics. It's not like there are plenty of other ridiculous examples from plenty of other ridiculous states but there's a certain special frequency in Louisiana. . . You know what I mean?
Anyway, now that everything is filed electronically we won't have to have a childish turf war over who has to file the paperwork, right? So closing the loophole that protects rich people from paying their proper property tax should be relatively easy, right? Anyone want to step up to the plate and offer this in the Legislature? Any legitimate reason to keep the system as is?