Lid Chart

In Thursday’s edition we tackle the parks levy request you find on your ballots in Bremerton. An explanation, with arguments on both sides, can be found here.

The city does some explaining of its own at its Web site.

Here I’ll give you a couple of charts. The first is supposed to be part of the print edition. It’s fairly simple. Look here and if you’re a Bremerton resident you should be able to guess about how much extra the Proposition 1 levy would cost you per year.

2008 Assessment 2008 Regular City Levy if “Yes” Vote Prevails 2008 Regular City Levy if “No” Vote Prevails Difference in Levy Between “Yes” Vote and “No” Vote
$98,410 $208.63 $189.93 $18.70
$143,990 $305.26 $277.90 $27.36
$152,760 $323.85 $294.83 $29.02
$166,920 $353.87 $322.16 $31.71
$175,980 $373.08 $339.64 $33.44
$190,380 $403.61 $367.43 $36.18
$219,550 $465.45 $423.73 $41.71
$335,510 $711.28 $647.53 $63.75
$406,270 $861.29 $784.10 $77.19
$531,040 $1,125.80 $1,024.91 $100.91
$668,640 $1,417.52 $1,290.48 $127.04

Source: Kitsap County Assessor

This second chart, however, is a little more complicated. It’s what I wanted to have for the paper, but the more I looked at it the more I thought there was too much data. Sure, a nerd like me loves it, but I couldn’t expect anyone else to spend more than a few seconds on it.

Nonetheless, for you, our sophisticated blog audience, I invite you to examine the complex world of big charts.

What I was trying to do was show not only the difference between a yes and a no vote, but the difference between the 2007 levy and the 2008 levy in either case.

2007 Value 2007 Assessment 2008 Value Regular 2008 city levy if voters vote “yes” Regular 2008 city levy if voters vote “no” Difference between “yes” vote and “no”vote Difference between 2008 levy and 2007 levy if voters vote “yes” Difference between 2008 levy and 2007 levy if voters vote “no”
$74,180 $155.78 $98,410 $208.63 $189.93 $18.70 $52.85 $34.15
$123,120 $258.55 $143,990 $305.26 $277.90 $27.36 $46.71 $19.35
$132,160 $277.54 $152,760 $323.85 $294.83 $29.02 $46.32 $17.29
$147,460 $309.67 $166,920 $353.87 $322.16 $31.71 $44.20 $12.49
$157,220 $330.16 $175,980 $373.08 $339.64 $33.44 $42.92 $9.48
$172,240 $361.70 $190,380 $403.61 $367.43 $36.18 $42.63 $6.45
$195,460 $410.47 $219,550 $465.45 $423.73 $41.71 $54.98 $13.27
$325,110 $682.73 $335,510 $711.28 $647.53 $63.75 $28.55 $-35.20
$324,160 $680.74 $406,270 $861.29 $784.10 $77.19 $180.56 $103.37
$426,680 $896.03 $531,040 $1,125.80 $1,024.91 $100.91 $229.78 $128.88
$537,160 $1,128.04 $668,640 $1,417.52 $1,290.48 $127.04 $289.48 $162.44

Source: Kitsap County Assessor

One of the reasons I wanted to spell that out is because I hoped someone could look at real world examples and be interested enough to do their own math. The middle number is the median, both in 2007 and 2008.

You’ll notice that for one homeowner the property tax levy would actually go down in 2008 if the levy fails.

So for the owner of a home that was near the median price both years, the tax increase is in the $42 neighborhood if the levy passes and around $6 if it doesn’t. Does that kind of information matter to anyone but me?

7 thoughts on “Lid Chart

  1. Steve, Appreciate the homework that went into this. This is the type of information I look for when such measures come up, and few outlets provide it. Keep up the nerdy stuff!! 😉

  2. Congratulations! The information in both charts, but especially the second one, is the kind of information people need to have, rather than the usual “x pennies per day” that belongs in an opinion piece, not the news side of the “wall.”

    If your data is accurate, it shows people two things that can help them understand the effect of voting “yes” — if they do a little arithmetic on their own.

    First, their tax (at the median value) paid to the city would go up by 1.58 percent if the measure fails.

    Second, their tax (at the median value) paid to the city would go up by 11.59 percent if the measure passes.

    People need to know how next year’s tax bill would compare to this year’s tax bill. That is, they need to have an idea of the additional number of dollars they would pay.

    I recommend that you do the arithmetic for them and include those percentages in the article.

    And, although it may not seem as relevant to this particular lid lift because of the specific purposes for the money, I recommend that you show the increase in the total tax levied by the city in the two scenarios — approved and rejected.

    People need to see, perhaps many times, how the number of dollars collected by a property tax from the group — not just individuals in the group — goes up. Then, perhaps they would understand that the total increase in property tax revenue from one year to the next is neither the “one percent” incorrectly claimed by many nor the huge increase claimed by those who don’t yet understand how the system works.

  3. Apologies to Dr. Suess

    Tax his land,
    Tax his bed,
    Tax the table
    At which he’s fed

    Tax his tractor,
    Tax his mule,
    Teach him taxes
    Are the rule.

    Tax his cow,
    Tax his goat,
    Tax his pants,
    Tax his coat.

    Tax his ties,
    Tax his shirt,
    Tax his work,
    Tax his dirt.

    Tax his tobacco,
    Tax his drink,
    Tax him if he
    Tries to think.

    Tax his cigars,
    Tax his beers,
    If he cries, then
    Tax his tears.

    Tax his car,
    Tax his gas,
    Find other ways
    To tax his ass,

    Tax all he has
    Then let him know
    That you won’t be done
    Till he has no dough.

    When he screams and hollers,
    Then tax him some more,
    Tax him till
    He’s good and sore.

    Then tax his coffin ,
    Tax his grave,
    Tax the sod in
    W which he’s laid.

    Put these words
    Upon his tomb,
    ” Taxes drove me to my doom…”

  4. Indeed, thanks for posting this. Though it is more obvious to people like me who work in the trenches, it can certainly help laymen who are attempting to decide which measures are earth-shattering, and which are dramatised.

    However, “x pennies per day” still applies and is just as important for context. If it belongs in an opinion piece, so do rants which advocate single issue votes or urge the need for detail and informed decision-making …..whilst espousing poorly informed leaders are fine as long as staffers can train them.

  5. Compare your coverage in print and on this blog for the Bremerton ballot measure to the article in Sunday’s print edition (not online so far as I can tell, and not on the NK blog) on the NK Fire and Rescue EMS levy ballot measure.

    The article about the EMS levy measure states, “the levy is now valued at about 33 cents per $1000.” The “value” of the levy is the number of dollars collected by the current tax rate, not the tax rate. Remember — nobody can spend a tax rate, not even a fire district.

    In the same paragraph, the article states the clearly incorrect and misleading description of the effect of I-747 that so often appears in print: “The EMS levy has always been limited to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. But because property values have drastically increased in the years since the last levy passage — and state law doesn’t allow local agencies to increase their budgets by more than 1 percent a year — the levy is now valued at about 33 cents per $1,000….”

    In fact, of course, the fire district’s “budget” has gone up far more than “1 percent a year,” as has its levy dollar amount.

    Some information that ought to be included in any news article about this EMS levy proposal:

    The existing NK Fire District six-year EMS levy authority was approved by the district’s voters at the general election held in Nov. 2002.

    The EMS levy approved in 2002 runs from 2003 through the end of 2008.

    If the proposition on the ballot in the general election this year is approved, it will replace the sixth year of the current levy with a new, higher levy amount.

    When voters approved a new six-year EMS levy in 2002, the levy amount for the first year (2003) increased by 14.7 percent compared to the 2002 levy amount.

    The levy amounts from 2003 through 2007 have increased at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent. The levy in 2003 was $790,167. The levy in 2007 is $943,605.

    Total assessed property valuation has increased at an average annual rate of 15.2 percent from 2003 through 2007.

    If total assessed valuation increases by the average, that is, 15 percent, for taxes due in 2008, approving this ballot proposition would increase the levy amount by 69.7 percent to approximately $1,601,295.

    Assuming a 15 percent increase in total valuation, rejecting this ballot proposition would result in an increase of 4.5 percent in the levy amount in 2008 to approximately $986,067.

    If the proposition is rejected, NK fire district can try again in 2008, since the current six-year levy authority doesn’t expire until the end of tax year 2008. A renewal of the EMS levy authority must be approved by the end of 2008 to be effective for taxes due in 2009. Failure to approve a new EMS levy in 2008 would eliminate EMS levy funding starting in 2009.

  6. LuckyLou, thank you!

    I do wonder how we could progress without being taxed … understanding we wouldn’t have roads so we’re back to horses…GOOD!

    Got a cute poem for progress and quality of life without taxes?
    Sharon O’Hara

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