U.S. Census Bureau request alarms Tulsa County Assessor

Phil Boehmke

Buried deep in the bowels of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a provision to impose a 3.8% tax on real estate transactions.  Proceeding without regard to Federal Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling that the health care law is unconstitutional the Obama administration appears to be pushing ahead with implementation of the real estate tax scheme. 

 

The Tulsa World reports that County Assessor Ken Yazel has come under fire for comments made last month during the Tulsa County Republican Convention.  Mr. Yazel told the convention that the U.S. Census Bureau had asked his office for information that he believed could be used to help create a data base for collection of a 3.8% real estate sales tax.  The steadfast assessor isn’t backing down from his statement.

 

“I don’t regret saying that,” Yazel said recently.  “As far as I’m concerned, this is an intrusion on the Assessor’s Office.  But the big question to me is, why are you asking for it?”

 

Yazel said his office received a letter a few weeks ago from the Census Bureau seeking information about land parcels.  The request was something neither he nor his staff had seen before, Yazel said.

 

“We scratched our heads and began to ask ourselves what this could be about,” Yazel said.  “I also inferred that in Obamacare there is a 3.8% tax, and they have to have a baseline to do that.”

 

Mr. Yazel has wondered about the timing of the request and has expressed concern about the underlying motivation for the data collection. 

 

The letter, dated March 7, 2011, states that the Census Bureau is conducting a study to determine “the feasibility of collecting and producing national statistics on taxable property values.”

 

It goes on to request eight pieces of information, including the gross assessed value, owner’s name and annual tax bill for all parcels on Tulsa County’s 2009 assessment roles.

 

The county was selected for the voluntary study as a sample unit for similar-size entities to give the Census Bureau a reliable picture of the entire country, the letter states.

 

U.S. Census Bureau spokesperson Tom Edwards claims that he was unaware of the letter in question.  Edwards did say that the bureau collects data from local government agencies in order to compile national property tax estimates.  In an email, Edwards said “there would be no way to ever attach that figure to any individual.”  That sounds a bit suspicious considering that the request asked for “the gross assessed value, owner’s name and annual tax bill.” 

 

According to FactCheck.org ( if they are to be believed) the 3.8% real estate transaction tax would only apply to individuals earning more than $200,000 per year or couples earning $250,000 per year, but Yazel’s concerns are well worth noting.  The good citizens of Tulsa County can be thankful that Ken Yazel is on the job and paying attention and that goes for the rest of us too.

 

April 12, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com

Buried deep in the bowels of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a provision to impose a 3.8% tax on real estate transactions.  Proceeding without regard to Federal Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling that the health care law is unconstitutional the Obama administration appears to be pushing ahead with implementation of the real estate tax scheme. 

 

The Tulsa World reports that County Assessor Ken Yazel has come under fire for comments made last month during the Tulsa County Republican Convention.  Mr. Yazel told the convention that the U.S. Census Bureau had asked his office for information that he believed could be used to help create a data base for collection of a 3.8% real estate sales tax.  The steadfast assessor isn’t backing down from his statement.

 

“I don’t regret saying that,” Yazel said recently.  “As far as I’m concerned, this is an intrusion on the Assessor’s Office.  But the big question to me is, why are you asking for it?”

 

Yazel said his office received a letter a few weeks ago from the Census Bureau seeking information about land parcels.  The request was something neither he nor his staff had seen before, Yazel said.

 

“We scratched our heads and began to ask ourselves what this could be about,” Yazel said.  “I also inferred that in Obamacare there is a 3.8% tax, and they have to have a baseline to do that.”

 

Mr. Yazel has wondered about the timing of the request and has expressed concern about the underlying motivation for the data collection. 

 

The letter, dated March 7, 2011, states that the Census Bureau is conducting a study to determine “the feasibility of collecting and producing national statistics on taxable property values.”

 

It goes on to request eight pieces of information, including the gross assessed value, owner’s name and annual tax bill for all parcels on Tulsa County’s 2009 assessment roles.

 

The county was selected for the voluntary study as a sample unit for similar-size entities to give the Census Bureau a reliable picture of the entire country, the letter states.

 

U.S. Census Bureau spokesperson Tom Edwards claims that he was unaware of the letter in question.  Edwards did say that the bureau collects data from local government agencies in order to compile national property tax estimates.  In an email, Edwards said “there would be no way to ever attach that figure to any individual.”  That sounds a bit suspicious considering that the request asked for “the gross assessed value, owner’s name and annual tax bill.” 

 

According to FactCheck.org ( if they are to be believed) the 3.8% real estate transaction tax would only apply to individuals earning more than $200,000 per year or couples earning $250,000 per year, but Yazel’s concerns are well worth noting.  The good citizens of Tulsa County can be thankful that Ken Yazel is on the job and paying attention and that goes for the rest of us too.

 

April 12, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com