U. S. Steel Seeks Reversal of Indiana Tax Ruling
United States Steel Corporation filed an appeal today in the Indiana Tax Court seeking reversal of an August 6, 2002, Order of the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board) which rejected U. S. Steel's claims for refund of property tax overpayments in 1995, 1996 and 1997. In its appeal, U. S. Steel alleges that for these years, Lake County officials illegally omitted or failed to count -- without statutory authority -- more than $200 million of property in Calumet Township alone in determining the assessed value of property and tax rates in Lake County. This resulted in higher tax rates for all Lake County taxpayers.
The Indiana Board has thus far, on narrow procedural grounds, shielded the County from any efforts by taxpayers to challenge these unjustified actions and denied U. S. Steel an opportunity to present its factual case. Today's filing was necessary, not only for U. S. Steel to protect its right to the refund, but to protect the rights of all taxpayers in Lake County and throughout the State of Indiana to have tax rates set in accordance with Indiana Law.
"We were extremely disappointed with the Board's decision to summarily dismiss our appeal on narrow technical grounds," said George Babcoke, Gary Works general manager. "In our petition, we presented a compelling case challenging the methods by which Lake County government officials kept their books and records, and we were denied the opportunity to have the facts heard and a decision rendered on the basis of the evidence.
"At U. S. Steel and at Gary Works, we are committed to taking aggressive steps to enhance our cost-competitiveness in an extremely competitive global steel industry. The excessive, unfair taxes we pay in Lake County represent costs we must address. Our property taxes here are far in excess of what other Northwest Indiana steel producers pay and approximately 10 times more than the taxes paid at any of our facilities in other states."
SOURCE: United States Steel Corporation
CONTACT: Mike Dixon, +1-412-433-6860, or John Armstrong,
Web site: http://www.ussteel.com/
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