I readily concede that Tony Van Vliet knows far, far more about state and local taxes than I do. A statement he made in a recent letter, however, does not square with my personal experience during the 12 years I've paid taxes in Corvallis.

Referring to assessments increasing no more than 3% per year, he wrote, "This is not an across the board increase for everyone, there has to be a reason — an increase in value of surrounding property, new buildings, or new improvements."

My observation is that, at some point in time, the "assessed market value" of my home was set at an artificially low level relative to the "real market value," and rates were set at a high level to achieve the desired revenue stream. Consequently, even in periods of prolonged downturn in the real estate market, the assessed value's deep discount to the real value provides whatever "reason" is necessary for the annual increase.

And, with the surety of the swallows returning to Capistrano in the spring or the decrepit furniture returning to the streets near campus in June, the 3% increases have come every autumn, and will do so again this year. My total property tax bill in 2018 was 54.3% higher than in 2007.

Fortunately, the cost of life's staples, such as food, clothing, and a subscription to the Gazette Times, has not skyrocketed 54% in such a short time period, as my fixed income as a non-PERS retiree has certainly not kept pace with my Corvallis property taxes.

John Brenan

Corvallis (May 2)

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