At first, a 40-to-100 percent hike in property values might seem like a good thing, but when the boost is a product of your local property tax appraiser’s efforts, it can be a real problem. In El Paso, malls and major shopping centers are fighting the hikes tooth and nail in an effort to stay in business and not get hit with huge property tax increases. Thanks to an $80-sale nearby, local malls were hit with reevaluations of monumental proportions. And while the owners are happy that their properties may have higher values thanks to the big sale, they’re concerned that they won’t be able to afford new tax bills. While some properties have received relief – Simon Property Group negotiated a 12 percent increase instead of its original 57 percent hike – others have had to settle for “just” 108 percent increases and other similarly relatively small settlements. “There’s no justification for doing what they did,” says one property owner who does not want to be identified since he is still in negotiations over his first settlement. He adds that “I couldn’t tell you one” property that has increased by 20 percent in the last year “in this economy.” Other mall owners argue that the “sharp increases in values on hotels and shopping centers isn’t justified at a time when the economy neither reflects nor supports such changes.” It is worth noting that residential property values held steady. Do you think that the appraisers are taking out the difference on commercial property owners?
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