Friday, June 16, 2006
When I moved to NC in 1988, I was told how much the cost of living was cheaper here. The only thing I found that was cheaper in reality was the cost of rent. Gas, milk, groceries, and taxes were all higher. The only tax that was lower was property tax, but I didn't own land when I firt moved here, either. North Carolina has a property tax, sales tax, state income tax, and federal income tax. I grew up in New Hampshire, where they only had property tax and federal income tax. There was no sales tax except at restaurants and hotels. There is no state income tax, either.
I have only owned my house less than four years. In that time, my property taxes have gone up twice. They went up significantly with the last re-evaluation and are about to go up again with the new Selma budget. Property re-evaluations are one way of sneaking in a tax increase without actually raising taxes. When you base your taxes on values that fluctuate, you set up a system whereby you "rape" your constituents occasionally.
I find the very concept of property tax to be unethical. First, I am taxed on my income. I use that left over income to purchase a home for my family and vehicles for transportation. I am then taxed at various levels with the purchase. I then have to pay tax on the property itself (with after tax dollars) each and every year. If the property values go up because of nothing I have done, I get hosed with higher taxes at the next evaluation period.
The fact is that I don't own my own home. Do you think that you do? Just DON'T pay the property taxes on that real estate and see what happens. The feudal overlords will forcibly take that property from you, sell it to recover the debt of taxes owed, and then some other peasant will begin paying tribute to the feudal system.
At the last town council meeting, there was discussion about forclosures on homes because of tax burdens. The threshold for pursuing forclosure is only $300. That's right, for just $300 in back taxes, the Town of Selma will take over your property and sell it to recover those measly few bucks in property taxes. One tax burden was only $248 or so, and will not be persued for forclosure. I am glad for that one, but for $52 more dollars, that property owner would lose every penny he/she put into that piece of land and/or home. That is just plain wrong.
In my view, property taxes are unethical because of those two major reasons: a. the property is paid for with already taxed money and b. the property can be forcibly taken from you if you do not or can not pay the taxes on the property, even if values sky rocket and you have no control over the market value. This is just plain evil.