Monday, June 4, 2007

In Praise of Property Taxes: Huzzah!

Hooray for this Mark E. Dixon fellow.

French-kissing the third rail of Western Pennsylvania politics, the writer suggests that taxing people who can best afford it, and who lay claim to the world's most valuable resource, might be a good idea.

He had us at "destructive and demagogic" -- his description of our governments' fixation on "property tax relief for seniors."

Scratch a bit deeper, I suspect, and it would become apparent that helping seniors is mostly sophistry. What concerns too many of us is lower property taxes for ourselves. But spending less for our children's education is not a worthy goal, so it helps to dress it up in a cause that sounds noble.

In other words, tax cuts for the wealthy becomes tax relief for seniors.

Keeping seniors in homes larger than they need, or can afford, or can care for, serves no social benefit and deserves no public subsidy. After a lifetime of work and raising a family, a house is an asset that seniors can sell and then live on the proceeds in smaller quarters. It is not the state's job to spend public revenue to help seniors hold onto assets that will only enrich their heirs.

The vogue of eliminating progressive property taxes in favor of more regressive income and even sales taxes, is an issue that young voters in particular should rally around.

We can't wait until the letters start pouring in, accusing Mark Dixon of not simply hating the elderly, but looking forward with excitement to the death of his own parents.

1 comment:

  1. I've talked about these same issues for some time.

    I've called out PUMP (Professional Young People) to stand up AGAINST the HOMESTEAD exemptions.

    The young people's groups should take on issues that help young people, right? But our young people's groups have been created to sustain the status quo. They exist to get in bed with the ones in power now and feel good about it.

    Giving tax breaks to seniors for property is the same as charging extra to young people who wish to invest in the area.

    Rob Peter to pay Paul here means to rob youth and reward seniors. Hey, no wonder the youth depart the region. They are punished for staying here.

    Seniors vote. That's reason #1 for this folly from the D leaders.

    Reason #2, the young people groups are working on the wrong side.

    Finally -- the real crushing policy is the DEED TRANSFER TAX. That hurts the seniors AND the youthful home buyers.

    The opposition would rather give big HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS and big Deed Transfer Taxes. That compound trouble. Rather, I'd want to cut homestead exemptions (also helps renters) and cut deed transfer taxes (also helps renters and home owners).