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Property taxes

Last fall, a lot of you were ready to grab pitchforks and storm the halls of government because a booming real estate market led to whopping increases in your property tax bills. Maybe some of you fell asleep in the poppy fields on the way to the castle.

More likely, you were confused about who or what to blame. The property tax is complicated.

Which is why I had to smile when I read about the Legislature's Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee last week. The committee is looking for ways to get people more involved with local government budgets. Read the story here.

Not that there aren't some good ideas there. I especially liked Ron Mortensen's idea of combining all the tax-increase hearings into one giant hearing. It does get confusing when the county, school district, library and mosquito district all raise taxes at once and all hold separate hearings.

No, I'm smiling because the one group that is the most secretive about raising property taxes is the Legislature itself.

When lawmakers tried to "fix" the Jordan School District split this year, they forced other school districts to raise taxes, and then exempted them from holding public tax hearings. If this "fix" remains in place, homeowners really won't know who to blame this fall. No one will have held a hearing or issued a notice.

How, exactly, does this encourage people to get involved in government budget-making? Pitchforks, anyone?