I have long complained about my property taxes. I do not begrudge taxes in general - I realize they are necessary. But property taxes tick me off for several reasons:
- I still do not understand how they are calculated.
- The assessments are outdated - at least in my county. So while my bank says that my home is worth one number, Cook County thinks it is worth much more. And is charging accordingly.
- The value of one's property is not necessarily consistent with one's ability to pay property taxes.
- School budgets are directly tied to property taxes.
- My nice neighbors just moved away because they couldn't stand the property taxes anymore.
Now let's talk about those unpaid bills:
Tax collectors from South Florida to Wisconsin and Cleveland have noted the increase. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland, nearly 8% of taxpayers didn't pay tax bills due this month, double the rate of four years ago, says Deputy County Treasurer Robin Darden Thomas. Now the county is struggling to collect about $400 million it's owed in back taxes, she says.
$400 million that the county had budgeted as income. I realize that when income goes down, income taxes go down. So swapping income taxes for property taxes isn't going to solve the problem. But as long as there is tax withholding from our paychecks, it must be more consistent than worrying about people that aren't - for whatever reason - paying their property taxes. The idea that someone who has owned her home for decades, paid off her mortgage and retired would have to sell said home and move to some lame condo because she can't take the property taxes makes me insane.
So increase my income taxes, if you must. I rather think we should be changing the capital gains rules, now that we are talking about it. But someone please, do something about these property taxes.