Friday, July 14, 2006

Property Taxes....Phooey

I don't try to hide my contempt for property taxes. The fact that someone could work their entire life to secure a home and then lose it to a sheriff's sale because politicians can't control their spending is repulsive to me, and it should be repulsive to all Hoosiers. One of my goals as the District 54 Representative would be to eliminate all confiscatory taxes, with property taxes being at the top of the list.

I realize accomplishing this goal will be a gradual process, and while are phasing property taxes out, I believe we can make them more fair and more equal for all property owners, instead of giving breaks to the ones that are in current favor of the ruling party, while the ones that have fallen out of favor make up the difference.

The Libertarian Party proposed a formula for calculating property taxes a few years back, and it makes a lot of sense. It is based on "flat" system that would treat all land the same, all residences the same, all commercial buildings the same, and all manufacturing buildings the same. Taxing all homes at the same rate per square foot would not penalize homeowners for improving their property, as assessors do now, and taxing all land the same would prevent a landowner from being penalized if the county fathers decided to rezone that land, say from agricultural to commercial. As an added bonus, we could eliminate the assessors office and all of the descretionary decisions and assessments it produces.

Greg Kelver, the Libertarian candidate for District 20 House seat from up in LaPorte County put some numbers together. These examples contain a flat parcel fee, plus the land and structure fees. How do they compare with what you are paying now?

1400 SF Residential Structure on 1/2 acre
Basic Parcel Fee 1 x $240 = $240.00
Land Tax 21,780 SF x $.ooo1 = $2.17
Structure Tax 1400 SF x $.20 = $280.00
Total Flat Tax $522.17

80 Acre Farm Field
Basic Parcel Fee 1 x $240 = $240.00
Land Tax 3,484,800 SF x $.0001 = $348.48
Structure Tax 0 SF x $.20 =$0
Total Flat Tax = $588.48

20,000 SF Light Mfg. Building on 3 Acre Site
Basic Parcel Fee 1 x $240 = $240.00
Land Tax 130,680 SF x $.0001 = $13.07
Structure Tax 20,000 SF x $.30 = $6000.00
Total Flat Tax = $6253.07

3000 SF Commercial Store on 1/4 Acre Site
Basic Parcel Fee 1 x $240 = $240.00
Land Tax 10,890 SF x $.ooo1 = $1.09
Structure Tax 3,000 SF x $.60 = $1800.00
Total Flat Tax = $2041.09

Admittidly, these numbers might not look so good if you are among the chosen ones that recieve the tax abatements, but they seem a lot better if you are the one paying extra so someone else can get those abatements.

The numbers might change county to county or city to city, but the local politicians could be held accountable for those changes, good or bad. And if a community has been saddled with the debt of a grandiose school or jail by a bunch of free spending officials, the people who choose to remain will still have bonds to pay. But the fact that you can't stop the pain after someone sucker punches you in the nose doesn't mean that you can't stop them from punching you again.

A simple, fair and understandable tax system, coupled with limited government intrusion and responsible spending that results in lower taxes for all Hoosiers, is the system we need to attract responsible, viable businesses to locate Indiana, and to keep and encourage growth of existing businesses.

That's economic developement the way it should be.

This plan probably won't allow the politicians and bureaucrats to collect enough money to fund all of their pet projects, but as I've said over on TheBellCurve,
that's not why I'm running


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