Monday, March 8, 2010

Augusta County: Jean Shrewsbury testifies against law to help taxpayers

Jean Shrewsbury, Commissioner of Revenue, Augusta County,
testifying against a law to help taxpayers.
Photo courtesy of Family Foundation.

After 10,500 taxpayers battled with Augusta County the past year over unfair increases in real estate assessments at a time of financial downturn, it was incredulous to learn that Jean Shrewsbury, Commissioner of Revenue for Augusta County, testified in Richmond against a proposed law that would help lessen the burden on taxpayers.

Thanks to the Family Foundation who provided the following:
... several days ago, HB 570 was before the Senate Finance Committee.

It preceded this infamous bill hearing (you must see this if you haven’t; click here).

This bill, patroned by Delegate Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach) would level the playing field when property owners appeal their often over assessed homes in order to reduce their already overwhelming tax burdens. Besides, if the government has a good case, it will still win. A no-brainer, right? Not!

Currently, and the way it will now remain for at least another year, the homeowner is the equivalent to guilty until proven innocent, and low-income people can’t even afford to hire an appraiser and other expenses required to overcome the burden of proof. (That’s why advocates for low-income families joined us in supporting the bill.)

Tellingly, the bill’s defeat was heavily targeted by a plethora of local governments and associated organizations whose goal is to further government’s prosperity and not that of the family or individual.

One witness favoring the bill exposed their intentions by asking if they would be against this bill would help them overcome an unfair burden against the homeowner.
Be sure to watch the video.

Citizens become frustrated when government does not listen to them as we saw in Washington when 1.2 million marched on 9/12/09 against government-mandated health care, and in Augusta County in March 2009 when 1,000 taxpayers turned out for a Board of Supervisors meeting to protest high real estate assessments.

A lone pro bono attorney, Francis Chester, defended taxpayers who could not believe their outrageously high real estate assessments ... and he has been punished by Augusta County who asked for and received sanctions from Judge Victor Ludwig who called Mr. Chester a modern day Robin Hood.

Is there no representation for the little guy against BIG GOVERNMENT?

Even the Rocket Boys had difficulty finding local representation against Augusta County, noting that 30 lawyers were contacted but were afraid of retaliation from Augusta County, so Francis Chester took on their case.

As one commenter asked, "Why is it that we see the Augusta County government consistently working against the interest of the citizens of Augusta County?"

Why, indeed?

Please contact our reps and let them know how you feel:

Jean Shrewsbury, Commissioner of Revenue
(540) 245-5640
Larry Howdyshell (North River)
(540) 350-2591
Gerald Garber (Middle River)
(540) 234-8388
David Beyeler (South River)
(540) 943-3202
Wendell Coleman (Wayne)
(540) 430-1350
Jeremy Shifflett (Beverley Manor)
(540) 294-2289
Nancy Sorrells (Riverheads)
(540) 377-6390
Tracy Pyles (Pastures) - Supv who supported taxpayers
Please tell him "thank you" - (540) 337-7010

Sen. Emmett Hanger
(540) 885-6898 /
Del. Steve Landes
(540) 245-5540 /
Del. Dickie Bell
(540) 448-4763 /
Del. Ben Cline
(434) 946-9908 /

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