Monday, November 06, 2006

Property Tax

While I'm waiting for two cords of firewood to be delivered I'll mention something quick. (I have ministry and math work to do, but I don't want to start something and be soon interrupted.)

The current ballot has several property tax measures.
  • The library wants to renew its property tax income, and is polite enough to decrease the amount from the current level because the city has agreed to pay the difference.
  • LCC wants money. I've already written about how cost-effective community colleges are. This measure is largely acting as insurance in case state measures 41 and 48 pass, to help dampen the damage of that possible scenario. But LCC is also being polite by asking for far less than it might lose if both those measures pass.
  • The city is asking for money to buy more local park land. This is not as polite a measure, since it is being publicized as a park-development measure when it is actually primarily a land acquisition measure. I'm not sure why the measure's supporters are doing this; enough of Eugene is anti-growth that it will probably pass either way.
  • The Soil and Water Conservation District wants a little property tax money too. I don't know much about what they do, but there website makes their activities sound worthwhile and they're only asking about $15 per year.
Anyway, the point of this was supposed to be how fair property taxes are. It's just also nice that most of the places wanting a bit more are asking politely.

Income tax can be avoided if you are working illegally or get paid without the government's knowledge. But property tax is paid by everyone, whether directly because you own property or indirectly as you pay rent.

Furthermore, property tax does not have all the complications that politicans and laywers get paid to wrestle over, such as inheritances and which location(s) generated income. It uses the market element of house size to determine how much tax to pay. Since nearly half (warning: link is a boring PDF) of the property tax goes to school districts, it makes some sense that bigger families pay more than average. And since Eugene is liberal, it makes sense that wealthier families to pay more.

I hope state measures 41 and 48 don't pass. (The state government has a track record of spending money poorly, but causing lots of other people to lose their jobs does not seem an appropriate remedy.) But if they don't, and due to these property tax measues I I wind up paying more in tax instead of less next year, I won't mind. The increases are small, property tax is a nice way to do tax, and most of those asking for more tax revenue did so politely.