Ridgefield Letter to the Editor: unwelcome surprise in the mail

Local tax bills for the 2022-2023 tax year are arriving in taxpayers’ mailboxes with automobile owners receiving an unwelcome surprise: an increase in their automobile taxes. The explanation for the increase in used car and truck values stems from the supply chain disruptions affecting the new car market.

Supply constraints, pent-up demand and a worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips have led to a spike in new car prices. New cars require about 40% more microchips than cars manufactured before the pandemic. Not surprisingly, buyers have had to turn to the used car market for their transportation needs, driving those prices up dramatically. Hence, instead of depreciating, your car and truck are now worth more.

But is there a benefit? As we all know, the cost is relative. So, any valuation windfall from selling your used car quickly dissolves at the purchase of its replacement. Instead, there is only one downside, an increase in taxes. The increase comes when people can least afford it, with inflation soaring to a 40-year high.

It’s hard to blame local tax authorities for the increases since they are literally going by the book. Connecticut town tax departments, according to State Statute, determine assessed values based on the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Valuation Guide published in October each year. They rely on a snapshot of information on that date to determine the assessed value of taxpayers’ automobiles the following tax year. Like the rest of us, they are skeptical of the apparent windfall, distrustful of its causes, and stressed fielding the legitimate complaints from taxpayers.

Bob Hebert, Ridgefield, CT,  candidates for State Representative