Thursday, April 21, 2005


We Love Taxes!

Posting by me will be light today, but before I go I wanted to point out that the SAEN editorial board continues it's "We've never seen a tax we don't like" attitude in all three of today's editorials. First, they come out in favor of raising sales taxes to buy land. Great idea, but the city always ends up paying two to three times more than the value of the land. In today's second editorial the SAEN throws it's support behind a tax increase to buy park land. Again, great idea but not in the hands of City Hall. And to top it all off the editorial board is against freezing property taxes for senior citizens. Clearly this editorial board wants as much of your money in the coffers of City Hall as possible.
The reasoning in the editorial against Prop 3 (the property tax freeze) is very sensible to me:

Such a tax freeze is reasonable for needy homeowners who have difficulty paying their taxes. It's not reasonable for wealthy homeowners who can afford to pay their share.


Shifting the burden for government services from wealthy senior citizens to young families is unfair.

A plan introduced by former City Manager Terry Brechtel to increase the city exemption for senior citizens, now at $65,000, would bring more equity to the system and wouldn't hurt the city as much.


Almost half of the city's senior citizens are exempt from property taxes now because their homes are valued at less than $65,000. The proposition is a bad deal for seniors who now pay no property taxes.

Raising the exemption is a much preferable option to simply freezing the tax rate. Under this 'tax freeze' proposition, owners of multi-million dollar homes get huge tax breaks, while owners of modest houses get little or nothing. The inevitable result is to shift more of the tax burden onto those who can least afford it.

I haven't heard the arguments in favor of the tax freeze, but this argument by the Express-News against it is very compelling.
PM Bryant, you haven't heard arguments against the freeze, and yet you have already made up your mind?
Raising the exemption is a much preferable option to simply freezing the tax rate.

Funny, though, that none of the tax-and-spend zealots downtown ever thought to raise the exemption until they were forced to use it as a rationale to oppose this proposition. And, if the proposition is voted down, you can bet that will be the last you've heard of raising the exemption.

The fact is, this proposition will cost the city a piddling $64 million over ten years. For context, this year's budget alone is $1.5 billion.

Interesting, a prorated savings to senior citizens of $6.4 million this year almost precisely equates to the millions pissed away by Ed Garza and company to subsidize a "major league" soccer team for the city. Thanks, Grampa!
To anonymous: No, I haven't made up my mind, and don't plan on doing so. (I cannot vote, since I live outside the city limits.) Just commenting that I find the arguments against that proposition compelling.

I did read some arguments in favor of the propostion later, but they were from a Roddy Stinson column and thus were not particularly coherent.
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