"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

IMMORALITY: Indiana's property taxes

Make a copy of these points of immorality (created by Indiana Voters League) to have by your phone as you call your state senators this week to demand that they vote FOR SJR 0008 which is the property tax repeal bill. Property tax is IMMORAL and here is why:

1. Bondage. You can never own your own home. As long as you must pay property tax you will never own your home free and clear.

2. Imaginary wealth. Your tax automatically rises based on the law’s assumption that, because other houses in your neighborhood have sold for higher amounts, your house is now worth more. This is a tax on your unrealized capital gain. You are taxed on what you do not have.

3. Unpredictability. Because of the tax system, you are not even able to predict what your next year’s house payment will be.4. Obfuscation by Fragmentation. Multiple jurisdictions — township trustees, school boards, city counsels, county commissioners, and library boards — all have taxing authority. A tiny group of people can raise your taxes without your consent. Further, because there are so many jurisdictions it is difficult for a citizen to know who is raising taxes and why.

5. Insidious Self-Interest. Your tax is being raised by people who stand to benefit from that raise. Many of the taxing authorities are dominated by people who stand to gain personally by an increase in taxes. Either they are public employees or their political ambitions depend on their ability to deliver government services or benefits to special interests.

6. Abdication of responsibility. Indiana has a system by which politicians can avoid the political risk of raising taxes. They have made it automatic. Your tax rate is imposed by a bureaucracy that is not even elected.

7. Sprawl & Environmental Degradation. Property tax destroys cities and degrades the environment. Our cities are declining. St. Louis has lost 60% of its population since 1950. A half millions people have fled that city. Tax policy has driven people from most of our major cities and encouraged people to relocate their homes and businesses outside of town. Urban areas are abandoned while farms and forests are paved over and people commute great distances.

8. Free Riders. Because of the over reliance on property tax people move away but continue to work where the jobs are. Local property owners shoulder the burden of maintaining an infrastructure while people who benefit from it escape to the suburbs to escape paying taxes.

9. Gentrification. When a neighborhood becomes fashionable, rising property tax drives out long time residents.

10. Decay. Property tax discourages community improvement. Landlords have no incentive to improve their property.

11. Invisibility. Property tax is invisible to renters.

12. Regression. Property tax hits the working poor the hardest.

13. Error and Deceit. Tax assessments are not accurate. They are prone to manipulation so that some people avoid them and others pay higher levels. Even when graft is not involved it is virtually impossible for the government to make a fair assessment because of the expense. The typical process by which people use appraisers to determine market value is for two parties to each engage an appraiser and then divide the difference between the appraisals. Another scheme uses three appraisers, with the middle appraisal ruling. All of this costs hundreds of dollars per house. Assessors on the other hand use systems that look much more like Ouija boards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you may have another advocate.