Saturday, January 09, 2010

...Never Met A Tax He Wouldn't Hike...

(With apologies to Will Rogers, who at least knew where he stood).

The Star's Editor trusts you -- to cut your own throat. Yes, once again, the man who makes public opinion moldy (wait, wait, have I misunderstood?) is out to show us ill-educated bucolics the True Way, this time when it comes to Indiana's proposed Constitutional amendment capping property tax rates.

Yes, that's right, the local paper takes a middling-dim view of one of the best ideas to have come out of Governor Mitch Daniels' office, a freeze on what percentage of the assessed value of your house and land can be taken from you in taxes (with a couple of loopholes: first of all, the assessed valuation of your home can and will change. Teh Gummint determines "market value" every few years; this isn't sufficiently granular to track real-estate price trends and assessors appear to lay a thumb on the scales in subtle ways. Second, per the last hard info I have seen, there are holes in the cap for school funding). Nope, The [Red] Star lurves the notion of ever-increasing taxes* on our land and homes adding to the pressure already created by the collapse of the housing market. Why should Granny get to keep that (paid-for) rambling old house anyway? Some nice young go-getting couple could snap it up for a song and fix it up, while she moves into the third fridge box from the left in the alley: the bank's happy, the shiny-pretty-people are happy and there's one less dusty oldster in the way of Progress(ives)!

But let's see how wise heads frame the question: "Will the electorate make an informed, rational decision? Or will voters indulge in a reflexive jab against property taxes, regardless of the consequences?" Can the Red Leveller prevail? Tune in next week, and don't forget to drink your EugeneVDebstine! Oh, sorry, I got caught up in the moment.

Credit where credit's due; Mr. Editor notes several positive effects of the cap as presently applied, despite fretting over possible "damage to essential services." He's concerned, though, that we would be "cluttering the state constitution with specific tax policy. " Yes, clutter; clutter like, "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken." or perhaps, "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State." Why, that's just crazy!

At this writing, odds look good for the Property Tax Rate Cap to show up on our ballots this November. Vote for it; us eeeeebil reflexive sticks-in-the-mud are unlikely to get a second chance.
* How bad are these taxes? We pay them in (or out?) arrears; it took me just under two years to get my various exemptions and until that time, I was paying nearly three times as much in real-estate taxes every year as I paid for my car. I don't have much of a car and now you know why.


perlhaqr said...

I'm hard pressed to decide which I find more desperately offensive: property tax, wherein the government claims to own everything and makes you pay rent to them to use it, or income tax, where the government claims to own you and merely lets you keep some portion of your wages they so magnanimously allow.

Probably the latter, but damn it's a close race.

Old Grouch said...

"...despite fretting over possible 'damage to essential services...'"

Like that $40 million/year for the Indianapolis Colts?

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

If the gov would stick to the things the gov is supposed to do, we wouldn't need income and property taxes.

But then I'm preaching to the choir.

Drang said...

Do you mean to say your state legiscritters actually do what they're told?!

If it wasn't that Mrs. Drang would kill me over the winter climate, we'd be moving to Indiana this afternoon.

WV: hampang. What you feel when there's not enough bacon.

Roberta X said...

D.W.: Within certain limits, the largest of which is Pat-the-Boss Bauer, Democrat, Speaker of the House and a frequent impediment.

CGHill said...

In 1996, Oklahoma passed a cap law: the taxable value of property cannot increase more than 5 percent in any calendar year unless there have been substantive improvements to the property or the ownership has changed.

This does not cap the tax rate itself; however, since each component of the overall millage is spelled out in the annual tax bill, it's not hard to find out who's playing Big Spender.

In my county, about 94 percent of property owners fall under the cap; in my particular taxing district, the actual tax rate has gone up 11.6 percent since 2000.

WV: "Solaboro," a town for individualists.