Why property tax should be abolished, Part II

Property Tax Delay

Here are some practical, rather than philosophical reasons why property tax should be abolished.

Property tax forces people from their homes, in some cases tragically. Here a widow must get a reverse mortgage to pay her tax. In another place a family is forced to sell because they cannot bear the tax increase. In another place an already distressed man, suffering other personal crisis, falls into despair and commits suicide after receiving his tax bill. His friend finds him dead and becomes radicalized about the property tax. I met a woman the other day who told me she and her brothers and sisters were all pitching in so that their mother could stay in her house for another year. I met another man, retired, who tells me his tax bill is now higher than his mortgage payment. Even though this comparison is in inflated dollars, it still seems unjust.

Property tax destroys communities. Taxpayers tend to move out of high property tax districts and move into low tax districts. Indigents tend to move in to high social welfare districts, which generally have high property taxes. Marion County lost 6122 people in 2006 and gained 2486 international immigrants. St. Louis has lost sixty percent of its population since 1950. You can now buy one of hundreds of abandoned homes from the city of St. Louis for as little as five hundred dollars. The funny part is that if you buy one of these abandoned houses and agree to fix it up, they will grant you tax abatement. Watch the short but scary video about what has happened to St. Louis. You can find it below in my previous post on the St. Louis Blues.

Property tax causes urban decay and suburban sprawl. Both contribute to environmental degradation. Tax policy that encourages people to move out of town and pave over cornfields and commute great distances is folly.

You can never own your property. Would you tolerate an annual, one-percent tax on the amount of money in your savings account?

Property tax discourages people from improving their homes. In my district a single father bought a derelict house and fixed it up, intending to make it a place for his children. Now that he has fixed up the house, his property tax has risen so much he cannot afford to live in it.

Property tax invites corruption. Property tax so retards economic development that abatements are routinely granted to encourage economic growth. We have appointed commissars who supposedly are clever enough to wisely and objectively waive taxes for some businesses and not others because these decisions will stimulate economic growth. Empowering government to grant corporate welfare to some businesses and not others is government meddling in the economy that corrupts free markets. It gives a few people power to redistribute community wealth in sometimes very self-serving ways. Why not provide property tax relief to everyone uniformly and predictably by eliminating it?

Reliance on property tax creates inequity in education and the delivery of social services. Wealthy districts tend to have a high tax base and low demand for social services. They can afford to dump a high percentage of their tax base into the education systems. Poor districts often contain more people with more needs. Why should the tax base in your district dictate the kind of school a kid goes to or whether there is adequate resources to deal with the homeless?

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One Response to “Why property tax should be abolished, Part II”

  1. Robert Michel Says:

    I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

    Robert Michel

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