Monday, June 23, 2008

Capture Theory and Morgantown Tax Assessment

Capture Theory suggests that when a government regulatory commission exists, the parties with the most vested interest in the outcomes of those regulations will devote the most resources to seize control of it, using it for its own anti-competitive purposes. Consider this story:

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- The Monongalia County Commission says they've found nothing wrong with a property owner's 1,531 percent tax increase.

Morgantown property owner Jim Jones filed a complaint with the commission because his property taxes increased from $285.90 to $4,663.44 after he refused to sell his property to Chief Deputy Assessor Bill Perry.

County Assessor Rodney Pyles says the property was reclassified as part of a routine audit, resulting in a tax hike. But Jones says it was retaliation.

Bill Perry is one of the largest property owners and landlords in the county. For your convenience, here is an Excel spreadsheet of his property in the county, which is publicly available through the county assessor website.

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