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Botetourt Residents Need To Check Their Tax Bills This November

Due to heavy inflation, the bills are really piling up for most Americans. Hard times are here and only seem to be getting worse. Gas prices, food, and insurance are at an all-time high. It’s getting harder and harder to make a living. Shouldn’t our elected officials be concerned?

I can tell you the ones running our tax offices in Botetourt County are not. When I received my property tax bill for my vehicle this year, I was shocked. I can barely make ends meet as it is. I am sure it hit you hard as well.

Questions always race through my head when it comes to car tax: Why do we even have a property tax on our vehicles? How many times can you tax something that has already been taxed? It turns out that in most states, this corrupt money grab of a tax isn’t even a thing.

Not only is this tax unfair, but also, when I received my bill, it was wrong! Both of my vehicles were overpriced at more than 60% of their actual value. It seems if you are going to be taxed for something that should only be taxed once then you shouldn’t inflate the price on top of it. It really is corruption on top of corruption.

So I did what we should all be doing, I started asking questions. I called the Commissioner of Revenue for Botetourt County. The representative I spoke with made it very clear to me that there was nothing she could do to help me. It’s funny how they have no problem sending a bill for something that isn’t even constitutional but can do nothing to actually help me understand. She forwarded me to Christopher Booth, in the Commissioner of Revenue’s office. Of course, there was no answer. I left a message and of course, it was not returned.

It really seemed like Christopher Booth, a conservative representative, would be able and willing to help me, but neither was true. This was one of the issues he ran on during his election and one of the issues he spoke about on social media. In his most recent post on the topic, Chris points out that in 2021, Botetourt County receives the lowest car tax breaks. I was upset to discover that Botetourt County “peasants” did get a tax break but even paid the price of having the value of their vehicles prices over-inflated.

I emailed Commissioner Booth about my concerns. He said they use the prices based on JD Power’s estimates. A little background on JD Power. This is a website with over-inflated car prices. JD Power helps dealerships justify their overpriced cars. Dealerships are running a business and have the right to price-gouge in a free market. Their customers have the ability to go somewhere else. I pointed this out to Chris and told him about Kelly Blue Book. KBB has a much better algorithm for the customer. KBB factors in the condition of the vehicle, local market conditions, and popularity of the vehicle. It is for sure a more fair assessment.

Wouldn’t you think that your car’s unfair, expensive tax bill should at least be assessed fairly? Commissioner Booth replied by citing the brand new price tag for my car from the dealer, which was 70% higher than my car’s value. He said, “be glad we are not assessing it for this price.” What a fool! He never asked how he could help me. He never thanked me for voting for him. In the end, he told me I had to pay it, it was the law….

It is sad that people like this hold political office. I say all this to remind you that this country was built on the phrase, “No taxation without representation!” Yet, here we are having our dollar taxed to death. This November, as you send your hard-earned money to corrupt local politicians, remember it was never supposed to be this way. I am sure it might seem like a small thing to some; however, it should be a big deal to all of us.

If only there was a bay we could dump their tea into. This is what it looks like to have your freedoms slowly eroded into the socialist country we have become.

Chad Forte, Cloverdale


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