The crux of the matter: St. John residential properties have been valued much, much higher than is justified by appraisers or the marketplace. Owners are facing property tax increases of several hundred percent. Many locals fear they will be unable to pay.
Barshinger has proposed legislation to have real estate values set by 'certified appraisers," according to Merry Nash at Islandia Real Estate.
"He is also proposing that improvements on St. John be valued the same as on St. Thomas," she said. "Currently St. Thomas improvements are valued at $93 sq. ft. and St John improvements are valued at $360 sq. ft." This means that a house on St. John may be taxed almost four times as much than if it was on St. T.
Does Barshinger's idea have a chance? No.
There us no reason to expect the 14 other senators, from St. Thomas and St. Croix, to give him support. St. John is, to many of them, a cash cow. It revenue expectations from St. John were lowered from their sky-high levels, the burden would fall more heavily on their constituencies on the relatively poorer islands.