Ken Lee’s Property Tax Analysis

By Ken Lee

2023 Budget and Tax stuff

Each year the Blount County (BC) administration proposes the annual budget (the fiscal year is July – June) and the tax rate necessary to fulfill the budget. The proposed budget and tax rate are released in May for informational purposes which allows the County Commission (and the public) the chance to review before the Commission votes on the items in the June Commission meeting.

This year there is also a property reappraisal effort by the County Assessor. The state of Tennessee provides the County, in years of reappraisal, with a certified tax rate, which maintains the County tax revenue the same as the previous year.  As property values rise, the BC administration should propose a lower tax rate both to keep budgets in check, but also to avoid undue pressure on homeowners to pay additional property taxes.

 Reappraisal in 2015Reappraisal in 2019Reappraisal in 2023
Tax Rate – prior year2.152.472.47
Certified Rate 2.12382.25371.5932
Adopted Tax Rate2.472.47???
Percentage Higher (adopted over certified)16%9.6%???

In both of the last two reappraisal periods (2015 and 2019), the BC administration recommended, and the Commission approved, a tax rate significantly higher than the certified rate.  As you can see, in 2015, the certified rate was very close to the prior year tax rate, which implies that property values did not dramatically appreciate. Yet the elected officials raised taxes 16%. In 2019, property values went up about 10% and elected officials raised taxes about 10%.  This year property values went up an average of about 60% county-wide.

The budget for 2023-2024 is in the May 2023 Budget Committee agenda for the meeting on May 9, 2023. At the moment, there is no valid information present.

  • There is a draft County appropriation, which is exactly the same as last year – so it is an inaccurate estimate
    • For example, BC school budget was 106M last year, and they have already asked for 124M this year – a 17% increase. But those data are not shown.
  • There is a proposed resolution, signed by the Commissioners, to approve a tax rate higher than the certified rate of 1.5932.
  • There is a Tax Levy resolution draft which does not show that property tax allocation to each fund.


  • What will the Budget Committee vote on at the May 9 meeting (in two days)? None of the documents are current or show valid estimates.  Is it expected that the Budget Committee members blindly accept whatever the administration puts forth, without sufficient time to review, comment, push back, and negotiate?
  • Is there any effort made by the Commission to push back on budget items, school appropriations, or tax rate calculations?  The Commission is presented with a one-year snapshot view of the budget.  How are they supposed to understand trends, patterns, and changes in line items year over year? There has NEVER been a request from the Commission for the administration to show multi-year data. And, certainly the public does not see it.  The administration does not offer such a view.
  • History shows that the administration and Commission simply agree, without much discussion, on tax rates and budgets.  Why is this? Who is holding who accountable? When, if ever, are questions allowed or asked on why budget items are what they are?
  • “Mark Pulliam is one of the few truly fearless, devastatingly incisive, original and yet deeply learned commentators on the contemporary legal scene.  His new blog is a welcome addition and a splendid and provocative resource.”
    Professor Stephen B. Presser
    Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus, Northwestern University School of Law
  • “Mark Pulliam is the Walt Longmire of legal conservatism. You don't want to be on the wrong end of his pen. His commentary on law, politics, and policy is not to be missed.”
    Richard Reinsch II
    Director of Law and Liberty, Liberty Fund, Inc.
  • “Mark's blistering criticism of the foibles of the lawyering class and crackpot judges is a worthy penance for a recovering attorney. And it is our gain.”
    Michael Thompson
    Shareholder, Wright & Greenhill, P.C.
  • “Maybe this man’s degree is written in crayon."
  • "Mark Pulliam fancies himself a Paul Revere of the right."
    Froma Harrop
    Syndicated columnist
  • “With the flourish of a pen, Mark Pulliam makes bad guys rhetorically bleed and weak guys physically cringe. It's awesome.”
    Michael Quinn Sullivan
    President & CEO, Empower Texans
  • "Mark Pulliam, writer and thinker extraordinaire, has a new blog. Make sure to visit and register. Mark Pulliam's new blog is a thing of wit and intelligence."
    Bradley J. Birzer
    Professor of History, Hillsdale College, President of the American Ideas Institute, and editor at large of The Imaginative Conservative
Featured In

Sign up for updates

Get the latest updates, news, and alerts directly from the source.
We promise, we don't spam.

Featured Tweets