Since You Asked

Will tax values dip with dropping home values? If you take the time to realize what's been happening to real estate values over the last two years, you'll notice estate assessments do not reflect this downward adjustment in value. The reason is loss of revenue for the county. This is a time bomb waiting to happen and the Jackson County Board of Equalization is going to be inundated with frustrated property owners next year, just you watch. Then what — a sales tax to make up the loss? A higher tax per thousand of assessed valuation? Where does it stop?

— Charles J., Gold Hill, via

Yes, market values have dipped in most of Jackson County recently. But from 2005 to 2006, market values jumped 23 percent. However, the assessed valuation on your property, or the amount used to calculate your taxes, by law only increases a couple percent each year except in certain circumstances, such as when changes are made to the property or levies are passed. On average, it's 50 percent of real market value, according to the county assessor's office.

Let's just say that you could sell a house for about $300,000. That house would likely have an assessed valuation of about $150,000. Property values would have to decline significantly and over a long period before there is any change in assessed valuation.

Why is there such a disconnect between real market value and assessed value? Measure 50, which passed in 1997, restricts annual increases to 3 percent in a given year.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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