The intent of this blog is to promote human equality, human progress, human peace and justice, and optimism. To accomplish this, to encourage the discussion of ideas after identifying and discovering problems, and then creating positive solutions for "we the people," in order to provide for the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility" of America now and its "posterity" into the future. To encourage an emphasis on separation of religion and state for all, no matter if this is for those "of faith" in a Maker / Creator (Deists, God-loving people, Christians, various people of spirituality) and atheists or agnostics.

Property taxes have been around for a long time. At one time, property could only be owned by white males. They paid the property taxes. It is pleasant that we live today with human equality. Or do we? Perhaps, because if one can afford property, they pay the taxes, irregardless of sex, color of skin, religion, or sexual identity. Thank God for that. But are property taxes the best form of tax or should we have other forms? This author is not certain and has wrestled with this question for some time. Property taxes are used at the local level to support streets, sidewalks, public schools, public hospitals, and other local community facilities and actions. Property taxes are paid whether one owns the property or rents the property. If one rents the property, the tax is like a value-added tax (VAT) and is opaque to the renter. The owner of the property sets the price of rent based on the property taxes (supposedly, if the owner is an intelligent one who pays the taxes). What is the alternative? Opaque taxes like a VAT take less paperwork and less work by accountants and lawyers, so we save money. If the VAT causes too high a price for the commodity, then people have a choice in a capitalist market. Thus, the price can be controlled by the value of the commodity PLUS value of the tax on the commodity. With property taxes, this can become a more complicated matter, as the demand side of the housing market is quite an infinite demand, unless people choose to pitch a tent in a public park, as what happens with the homeless. Also, property taxes are applied whether there is a home for residents or a building for commercial or industrial use. The tax is lower when it is an open field or wooded area with no buildings. Then there is the farmland consideration. Too complicated for me to consider here at this time. Homestead exemption options (primary residence, so get a deduction, but 2nd property and/or property only used as an investment not residence, and there is no deduction) and STAR (NYS). People who own rental property do so as an investment, so to lower the cost to renters, rental property for personal residences could have a higher homestead exemption, could they not? After all, owning a piece of real estate with no building does have a lower assessment and a lower tax. I know. I was once in that position. So, why can’t we give residential rental property a higher exemption? Owners of business, commercial, and manufacturing rental property are leasing to people who are more likely expected to make a profit. Residents are often pushed into a position to make little profit, especially with an income tax which considers profits for the “little guys” – the common folk – to be “disposable income.” How insane, which also makes me consider how irrational the regressive income tax is in punishing people for making a profit.

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