Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Town of Pleasant Valley Misunderstands Property Tax Rate Increases

It's the Town of Pleasant Valley, and not the Poughkeepsie Journal, that is primarily responsible for calculating the wildly incorrect tax rate increase of 9.19 percent reported in the Journal on November 20.  My post yesterday to this blog, Town of Pleasant Valley Increases Tax Rate 23.3 Percent, explains why the published tax rate increase is incorrect, and how to calculate it correctly.

Pleasant Valley Town Supervisor (and Budget Officer) John McNair asserted today that, “The rate increase is as stated in the Poughkeepsie Journal.”  In other words, McNair considers the 9.19 percent tax rate increase reported in the Poughkeepsie Journal to be correct.

Given that the 9.19 figure is wrong, and considering that this incorrect figure reflects more favorably on the Town of Pleasant Valley than the correct figure of 23.3 percent, some might conclude that McNair is intentionally fabricating budget figures; in other words, lying.  I doubt this is the case, for two reasons:
  1. Although government officials deliberately make misleading statements every day of the week, they generally prefer to avoid lying.  Instead, they make assertions that are true (but irrelevant), or that are difficult to dispute.  The 9.19 figure is neither.  It's false, and it's easy to show that it's false.  Why would a government official lie about something that is so easy to refute?
  2. Other institutions that should know better have been calculating tax rate increases incorrectly.  I've already found two:  The Town of Hyde Park has been making this mistake for at least three yearsThe Poughkeepsie Journal has been making this mistake for at least 10 months.  In both cases, I've found evidence that these have been honest mistakes — not deliberate deception.
The tax rate increase mistakes committed by the Town of Hyde Park and the Poughkeepsie Journal are entrenched.  So far, both institutions have vehemently denied that their published tax rate increase percentages are incorrect.  How entrenched is the Town of Pleasant Valley's tax rate increase mistake?  I don't know, but I'm hoping to find out.  Stay tuned.


  1. You sure are busy this time of year! Good Work!

    Anxious for your blog on the latest PoJo Article Nov. 28, 2010

    Hyde Park budget raises taxes 1.2%


  2. @DutchessPreserver: This is the second time in a week that you've alerted me to an important reference I would otherwise have overlooked. (The first was on the Rockefeller Institute.) I'm really grateful for your valuable inputs. I'd welcome hearing from you privately.


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