Don’t Punish Schools For Assessor Errors

County assessors in West Virginia should be required to ensure property is valued accurately for tax purposes. But a new law to take effect July 1, punishing school systems for assessors’ failures, is not appropriate.

Under the law, county boards of education could have state funding cut by 8 percent if the county’s property tax assessments are too far below fair market values.

Obviously, accurate valuations are in the school boards’ best interests – but they have no power whatsoever to compel assessors to do their jobs properly.

Penalizing children in public schools because assessors – quite possibly to curry favor with voters – are holding assessments down too far makes no sense at all. State legislators should find a better way of dealing with the problem.