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Taxes are forcing you out of your home

View from the Mount

Sober Thought Provoking Essays

Property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the central institution of a free society. 
David Friedman

Taxes are forcing you out of your home

How it used to be - Now it is different
Today you get screwed just keeping your house


In no other country in the world is the love of property keener or more alert than in the United States, and nowhere else does the majority display less inclination toward doctrines which in any way threaten the way property is owned.

 Alexis De Tocqueville

Taxes Taxes Taxes everywhere, but not a buck left to spend! Anyone who is still breathing and coping with a medicated society and head games, knows that disposable income is falling faster than a sinking U.S. Dollar. The root cause of a fading prosperity can be directly traced to the amplified theft that is reverberating throughout an economy of smoke and mirrors.  Add it up and read the bottom line. If there is no indignation, the robbery will just escalate.


Consider the rise in ad valorem tax rate ratio. So a boom in real estate prices confers a sense of affluence. Years of extremely low interest rates have lulled homeowners into thinking that they can afford a more expensive house. Buy up and pay off the mortgage note with cheap dollars. Add into the formula the rising replacement costs for the abode, and you become part of the landed gentry.


Well, what happens when state, county and local revenue shortfalls target a persistent yearly increase in your property tax rates?  Reassessment is often a path to equalize the sudden boom in sky rocket appraisals.  Even more frequent is the invention of service and user fees, as well as new categories of public service enhancements.  Use a calculator and examine the ratio of a rising tax bill vs. the percentage of a “so called” non inflationary economy. 


The essential question is can you afford to own your own home?  If you have an escrow for property taxes buried in a mortgage payment, you may not notice the real cost of funding retirement checks for slugs who once graced the public service gravy train. If you start to feel the pain, ask if you would dare buy your own home at the prevailing bubble market asking price?


Look at the recent Brevard County, Truth in Taxation Proposal.  This Charter Amendment requires the County to publish an advertisement which discloses the actual property tax revenue increases when the County does not adopt the "roll-back" rate.  The "roll-back" rate is the reduced rate which will, as a result of increased property valuations, provide the same revenue as in the previous year (excluding new construction). 


In a political community based upon unearned income supporting advance aged retirees, no wonder that the proposal received unanimous approval from the Charter Review Commission.  But what is happening in your own county jurisdiction?


Reported in the Christian Science Monitor is an assessment that hits a cord all too familiar:


"There is a property tax crisis," says Myron Orfield, a property tax expert at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. "It's especially bad in states like New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, and Illinois, which are property-tax dependent."


“The changing demographics have combined with an unusual economic phenomenon: home prices climbing at double-digit rates in some areas. This would make homeowners happy, except that an increasing number of communities are now assessing property values every year.”


CBS Market Watch provides even greater details:


“Nationwide, median home values rose 24 percent from 2001 to mid-2004, and some regions saw much steeper increases, such as a 46 percent jump in the northeast and a 33 percent rise in the west, according to Deloitte & Touche's Property Tax Services Group.”


Runzheimer International, a consulting and research firm adds other examples of property-tax increases over those four years:


  • 53 percent in Alexandria, Va., near Washington
  • 49 percent in Yorba Linda, near Los Angeles
  • 47 percent in Kendall, Fla., near Miami
  • 37 percent in Roswell, Ga., near Atlanta
  • 32 percent in Chesterfield, Mo., near St. Louis

Maybe this is the hidden benefit from living in one of those Blue State enclaves; but for the rest of us, a double wide is not exactly the castle of our dreams.  For those of us who have actively and successfully challenged the property assessment farce, the reward of a fair and equable valuation is only temporary. The latest game juggles the percentage of the fair market value. State governments seek to demand full current values and impose upon local municipalities the requirement to conform to rigid uniformity. In theory that sounds sensible, but in practice the loop holes are so huge that a RV would fit in the garage.


As long as the property tax is viewed as a legitimate method for revenue collection, the antics of deception will be the law of the land.


Schadenfreude is a term that depicts - pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.  What possible explanation can be made to justify the hideous and detrimental expropriation of subsistence from middle class Americans? Living peacefully in their own home is rapidly become a luxury. The hard luck of watching your property soar in valuation as your ability to prevent a foreclosure tax sale, faces all too many of our neighbors. The politician may lay claim for rescuing the widows or the orphans, but the bureaucrat delights in sending the sheriff to serve notice.


The solution is to roll back the size and scope of all government. Funding government schools, superfluous services and lavish pensions is unconscionable.  As the burden of confiscatory taxes are shifted upon individual states and local counties, by a central government that refuses to pay for insane mandates, the home owner needs to fear a breaking and entering by those who allege they protect and serve.  Ponder your future when paying your property tax.  A little time in the face of your resident board of assessors might prove the best use of your home improvement budget.


SARTRE – January 6, 2005

If self-replicating e-commerce baby tycoons get on your nerves, it's schadenfreude time. It's true that the Nasdaq rebounded after its staggering loss Tuesday. Nonetheless, what AP described as "the most volatile day ever for U.S. stocks" left a distinctly bearish aftertaste.
--"Market Motion Sickness." The Industry Standard's Media Grok, April 5, 2000

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