As everybody knows, in today’s United States, we typically do not really own our homes, we rent them from our government. Quit paying property taxes and the real owner will quickly throw you out.
When I was in my childhood, half a century ago, in small town America, property taxes for my parents were affordable. They paid a bit over a $100 a year.
Things are different today. Most people owning a middle class home within fashionable regions pay something along the lines of $8-10,000 per annum to local government for the privilege of continuing to occupy their home.
The New York Times reports on a really revolutionary measure about to be voted upon in North Dakota that could change all that.
Since Californians shrank their property taxes more than three decades ago by passing Proposition 13, people around the nation have echoed their dismay over such levies, putting forth plans to even them, simplify them, cap them, slash them. In an election here on Tuesday, residents of North Dakota will consider a measure that reaches far beyond any of that â€” one that abolishes the property tax entirely.
â€œI would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I canâ€™t pay a tax,â€ said Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who have pressed for an amendment to the stateâ€™s Constitution to end the property tax. They argue that the tax is unpredictable, inconsistent, counter to the concept of property ownership and needless in a state that, thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling, finds itself in the rare circumstance of carrying budget reserves.
â€œWhen,â€ Ms. Beehler asked, â€œdid we come to believe that government should get rich and we should get poor?â€
Read the whole thing.
If they pass it, it will make moving to North Dakota, winters and all, decidedly attractive.
I used to live in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our town was really actually a bedroom. The residents were nearly all upper middle class professionals who worked long hours and commuted significant distances (commonly an hour and 45 minutes to New York City) to do so. On week days nights, they got home, ate, and staggered off to bed.
The politicians, the PTA, the League of Women Vipers, and all the other forces of Progress consequently could do whatever they pleased. Normal people were simply too exhausted from making a living to get involved in the political process. The only people who did were those who wanted something. And what they wanted was more, and for the rest of us to pay for it.
Consequently, the town budget and the real estate taxes went up, good times and bad, annually. If there was a recession on, the increase might be a mere 6-8%. In good years, it would be more like 10-12%.
When we bought our house, we were paying $2000 a year in real estate taxes. Twenty years later, we were paying $10,000.
What this meant is that there were no retired people in town. Nobody could own real estate in our town on a retirement income. As soon as someone stopped working, he sold out and moved to a Sunbelt state with lower taxes.