PROPERTY TAXES: AN EASY RIDE FOR LAZY PUBLIC OFFICIALS
October 24, 2008
Josephine County, Oregon -- Property taxes across the nation are an evil that prey on the family home. Public officials claim the property tax is the only sources of available income to fund public safety and other money hungry services. This is not so. The respective states each pull in billions of tax dollars annually to fund many unnecessary socialistic welfare programs, and they never have enough. The legislatures often mandate that these social programs be funded first and they zealously protect these funds from cuts or diversions. These funds often ensure the reelection of their socialist legislative sponsors and state government officials. Those who contribute little to society are able to vote and elected toadies who willingly pay for these votes with other people’s money. This is unethical, but it is certainly a fact.
following story is about Josephine County, Oregon and its financial
problems in funding their sheriff’s office. One faction wants
to tax the family home to pay for the sheriff’s office and many
home owners are resisting this entrenched bureaucratic mentality. This
same issue in various guises confronts all communities. Counties and
Parishes need to find out how much money the state takes out of their
community. Then apply pressure at the legislative level to see that
a portion of these funds are returned to the community they came from
to eliminate the nefarious property tax, present and future.
The recent vote by Commissioners Dwight Ellis and Dave Toler to supply up to $300,000 of county funds to match library donations is absolutely amazing. This coupled with Toler’s comment in the Daily Courier that the county has $2 million in reserve will leave the voters confused and with the opinion that the county is now awash in greenbacks. The voters will certainly come to the conclusion that with so much money available there is now no need to approve the two sheriffs’s taxing districts. The two taxing districts are a lost cause and a bad idea. I along with many others agree that a functional sheriff’s office is a vital necessity for Josephine County and should take priority over the funding of all other public agencies or services. After the sheriff’s office and criminal justice system are functioning properly then is the time to look at and fund other services, if funds are available. I disagree that the property tax is the proper means to fund county government, and will so state some of my reasons in this article.
Nevertheless we do have a reprieve, and there is time to rethink the ways that essential government services can be funded without resorting to the evils of a property tax in the form of a levy or taxing district.
The definition of a Property Tax: This is a debt and lien placed on your home and land by anonymous persons. Failure to pay will result in forfeiture of property.
The two separate property taxes on the ballot don’t have a sunset clause because they are taxing districts as opposed to a levy. Taxing districts are like being on a tread mill and you can’t get off, or the relative that comes to visit and never leaves. These taxes are perpetual year in and year out and they can grow a little every year. The tax rate itself doesn’t change but the valuation of the property can increase 3% annually and the probability is it will. So when the property value increases the amount paid in property taxes also increases.
If both of the Sheriff’s taxing districts were to be approved by the voters they would total $2.09 per thousand of property assessment. More bad news is that property taxes are cumulative. Every time a new property tax is approved it’s added to the existing taxes on the family home. After a while these taxes can become an excessive burden on home owners. In metropolitan areas property taxes can cost thousands of dollars annually.
The property tax is inherently unfair as low income residents pay a greater share of their income to preserve their family home from seizure that do their more affluent neighbors.
The very concept of the property tax is morally flawed. Is it right for others, hidden behind a secret ballot, to be able to place an unregistered lien against your home in the form of a property tax? The property tax also carries with it, the fear factor, of the implied threat of home seizure for nonpayment of taxes. Police can become the Halloween monster that enforces this seizure. This is not a user friendly tax. After the county has taken ownership of a seized home they can either sell it or keep the proceeds even if they amount to more than the amount due in taxes. Or they can put the property in the county land inventory.
The Cascade Policy Institute states, “The (Oregon) All Funds Budget is $48 billion—$6,376 per year for every man, woman and child in Oregon.” The state and federal government confiscate and consume too much revenue from taxpayers to fund their many social programs. A portion of this money should be returned to the counties for funding essential services like the sheriff’s office. The state legislature is the vehicle to get this done.
This is where the county commissioners, the Sheriff’s Advisory Council, and supporters of a property tax should be looking for funds to support the Josephine County Criminal Justice System, not the property tax. Besides there is plenty of money in the county vault as Ellis and Toler just agreed to give the library $300,000 in matching funds and there’s $2 million in reserve? A “no” vote on 17-25 and 17-26 the November Taxing Districts is just common sense.
© 2008 John Taft - All Rights Reserved