The Back StoryTwo years ago I went to pay my property taxes in person. The woman to whom I paid my taxes was friendly, helpful and informative. After accepting my check for $3,100 she said the greatest thing I've ever heard from a public servant. She said
Congratulations! You've just paid the last property tax you will ever have to pay.
Then she had me fill out an application for the Deferred Property Tax program. Until I sold my home, I'll have all of property taxes deferred. That done, I was all set. Except good things like that rarely happen to me. So, I went home, called and double checked. The State of Oregon Department of Revenue employee confirmed that I was indeed eligible.
One thing I learned while working for the Illinois State legislature is that whatever the legislature might be up to, employees of the agency affected are going to hear about it. So I asked, “Have you heard about any changes proposed for the program?” The answer was, “Naw. It's way too popular and, in the end saves the State a lot of money.” Feeling pretty confident about getting my property taxes deferred, I called my financial adviser. I asked him to check it out. He did. He got the same answer.
Preparing for My Future - and Believing that I Was PreparedMy financial adviser had sequestered enough of my money to pay my taxes over my expected lifetime. I had a list of stuff that I planned to do over time and as I could afford it. That included a new water heater, new kitchen appliances, and a number of modifications to the house that would be needed if I became further disabled. So, I got busy. In the course of installing a french door to the deck, we discovered that the deck had to be replaced. In no time at all, I spent all of the money previously reserved for taxes on the house.
Then ALEC intervened.The State of Oregon's legislature is neatly divvied up between Republican and Democrats. A large chunk of Republicans belong to the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council funded in part by the Koch brothers. Eliminating programs like the Deferred Property Tax are among ALEC pet projects. Like every branch of government the State was in a financial bind. Without twisting too many Democratic arms, the Republicans convinced the legislature to eliminate the program. Those of us on the program pushed back. The legislature backed down – half-way. The left out 1,500+ senior citizens including me.
How You Can Help MeNow those of us left high and dry and dependent upon the Deferred Tax program are trying to form a network. Through public information we have gathered the names, addresses, and phone numbers. The help I need from you is to call and gather their e-mails if they have them. If you would [leave me your e-mail address and phone number], at llbear