Fact Check: Did Throndson Oil’s property taxes go up 1400+% and then another 300%?
OK, so file this under 100 day old news that doesn’t matter.
It’s not just that this is wrong, but rather that it is so absurd that I can’t understand what he was thinking or how he got away with it. After fact checking this, I remain disappointed that it was never fact checked by the reporter covering the event even after I suggested he check that fact.
Full disclosure: I never met Terry Throndson before this forum and haven’t talked to him since. This was my only exposure other than what news reports.
First, let’s make sure my paraphrase was correct.
Here is the exact quote. Find it at about 10:40.
“By the way, I got another 300% on top of my 1443 this year.”
I was correct.
Second, lets check where Throndson Oil is and what they paid in taxes from 2008 to 2010.
Remember he claimed that his taxes went up 1443% previously and another 300% in 2010. This translates to a 2 year increase of 6072%. In reality he paid:
$7186 in taxes in 2008
$7644 in taxes in 2010
This is a 2 year increase of 6.4%. An exaggeration of nearly 3 orders of magnitude (953 times actual). There was an increase in property valuation in 2009, typically what happens in these cases is an area is reevaluated and the owner does not challenge the assessment until the following year. Also in 2010 there was an additional penalty, but this is typically due to not paying your bills on time.
Third, lets figure out if this is significant by way of an example.
In 2000 the population of Rochester was 85,806
In 2010 the population of Rochester was about 105,000
That means that we grew about 22.4% over the last decade. What if we grew at 953 times that? Or 21318%? Based on the 2000 population count our population would be 183 million.
So I am in a candidate forum and I say, “Our growth has been tremendous we now have 183 million people in Rochester.” This is EXACTLY the kind of statement that was made and not fact checked.
So yes this was a very significant false statement. And in my person opinion it was either grossly negligent of a lie. It was also never challenged.
In fairness I make a number of mistakes, recently I was off on a budget growth percentage at a city council meeting. However that was a mistake that I acknowledged and it was close enough to be a reasonable. This absurd figure was never based in fact nor realistic enough that anyone should have ever believed it or made the statement.
As a private citizen I despised when a politician or a candidate would just make something up or throw out garbage and not be challenged. As an elected official that has not changed. I probably should have been nicer in the original assessment, but I believe the issues hear was the lack of accountability. There was no excuse for this statement.
Usually I have someone check my math, but I suspect someone will tell me if my numbers are off…