Alaska’s State Assessor resigns

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Property taxes

Joseph Caisse, the state assessor for Alaska, has announced his resignation.

Caissie’s exit from the State of Alaska coincides with a statewide movement to change Alaska’s statutes to protect the public from arbitrary and unjust property tax assessment valuations.

Recently, Caissie came under criticism for implying that members of the Board of Equalization should accept mass appraisal models, even if the methodologies produce assessments of 150% or 200%, which is contrary to the state statute’s mandate that assessments be based on full and true market value.

Caissie announced he will leave at the end of January to take a full-time position leading a 501(c)(4) that promotes something known as Georgism policy, which pushes taxation of land based on what the government thinks it should be developed for, rather than what the property owner decides to do with the land.  

According to his parting letter to municipal assessors, Caissie will “be pushing for more jurisdictions to adopt this policy” in his new role.

Georgism, sometimes referred to as the single-tax movement, is a controversial theory of land value taxation.  Its basic tenet is that government should be funded by taxes on the unimproved value of land, rather than by taxes on other forms of economic activity.

Caissie’s letter informing local assessors of his coming departure also hinted that he could not stay on as the state assessor: “If there was a way I could stay on as State Assessor while doing this, I absolutely would – this has been the best job I’ve ever had, and it’s been great learning from you all. I wouldn’t be shocked if this isn’t forever – there are some amazing things about this state that I’ve come to take for granted, and I’ve often joked that this place is like the island from LOST (sorry, season 3 spoiler coming up): when I’ve left in the past, I’ve felt a craving to come back. But it’s farewell for now.”

He also offered to coach his successor assessor, saying the job is “not an exempt position, the way I imagine most local assessor jobs are. You are insulated from the public – I’ve had to beg, unsuccessfully, to the higher-ups to let the State Assessor’s Office take on more heat from the local assessors. I’m sure if any of you take the position, having been a local assessor, you will also push for this, and I wish you luck. I’ll send out the job posting to the AAAO list when it goes up, and that should be shortly.”

17 COMMENTS

  1. Joe Caissie, to wish you good luck in your new job, would go against everything I believe in. I truly hope you fail miserably. And don’t you even try to bring that socialist garbage back here. We will do everything we can to stop you!! This is still America, the land of the free!!! If you don’t like it, LEAVE!!! To higher ups please don’t let the new state assessor be trained by this man.

  2. Georgism? Wow! Since I live on a lake should I be assessed as if I lived in one of those high-end fly-in lodges?

    Do these Georges also believe in taxing what you are capable of earning rather than your actual income?

  3. That explains a lot. I watched Caissie instructing Board of Equalization members not to accept appellants appraisals, and always go with the assessor’s computer generated mass appraisal result, even if flawed. No wonder Anchorage BOE members are so confused, and the BOE is considered a “kangaroo court”.

  4. Even the Californians don’t tax like this.(on speculation) It’s highly interpretive designed to meet revenue goals for the government. And a good way to keep land ownership out of the hands of the public sector, which seems the goal. Even our supposed housing shortage and high rent prices are being directly caused by the faulty taxation and assessment process at local level. And the state office that is supposed to be the watchdog for these processes has been tainted for years by people like this. In Anchorage, if you graft the right people, you can get a property tax exemption for your development of property or better yet, start a so-called nonprofit, pay yourself handsomely for your position and don’t worry about taxes. Would be nice to know just how many valuable properties are tax exempt in the municipality. All this while the elderly are being taxed out of their homes. Being imposed by local government who preach fairness and equity whatever that is supposed to mean. I have to laugh at outsiders when they tell me how fortunate we are to live in a state without taxes. Only if you are homeless. Well, one less piker won’t be missed, and since your taxes are included in your house payment you have few options. That being said, I have never lost an appeal, which solidifies the point. Don’t expect a timely refund of your appeal fee.

  5. I would think that if he has a servant’s heart, it would be a lot different result. He obviously does not, but has a want to control the people, their money and their land. Good riddance! AND no you are not welcome back in my state!

  6. Or we could stop with the property tax altogether. I’m okay being taxed for roads & safety but as long as there’s taxes on property, we never really own our anything. It all belongs to the government- just try not paying your taxes.

  7. Sounds like he wasn’t an honest man. Just like Anchorage’s last muni clerk what’s her name, she left after the heat turned up on her. I be praying someone honest is hired. A smart criminal leaves before he muddies his own water before he gets convicted.

  8. Why do we even have a State Tax Assessor? In my 50+ years here I can’t recall ever paying a State property tax. Borough and municipal, yes. State? Not that I can recall.

  9. Good riddance. Crippled the housing market with these ridiculous assessments! Homes rising up 25% in a year for no reason at all!

  10. This has been going on forever.. libs have zero respect for property ownership and see owners as nothing but cash cows waiting to be robbed to fund insatiable gov growth. Back when Begich was Anch mayor he would call up Marty and demand changes to assessments or mill rates” I don’t care which!” “Just get me the money!!

  11. Prov the biggest “non profit” charade going. I was told if they paid property tax it would equate to a 15% break to ALL muni homeowners! Wake up people!!

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