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Old 02-11-2005, 09:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
sob
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How much do you value the right to vote?

In another thread, I made the statement that I wouldn't object if only property owners were allowed to vote in regard to property tax increases.

Another person used the reductio ad absurdum argument to point out that it might open the door to saying the unemployed couldn't vote for income tax increases.

I didn't have a problem with that, either.

Although I'm not sufficiently motivated (yet) to reference it, I believe that at the inception of this country (the US), only property owners could vote, period.

I also include quotes from Alexander Tyler:

Quote:
"Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves a largesse from the treasury. From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that the democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy."
This was said during the time we were still 13 colonies.

I'll also include this quote from Frederic Bastiat (1801-1849):

Quote:
"A society based on a proper conception of law would be orderly and prosperous. But unfortunately, some will choose plunder over production if the former requires less effort than the latter. A grave danger arises when the class of people who make the law (legislation) turns to plunder. The result is "lawful plunder..."

At first, only the small group of lawmakers practices legal plunder. But that may set in motion a process in which the plundered classes, rather than seeking to abolish the perversion of law, instead strive to get in on it..."

One can identify legal plunder by looking for laws that authorize that one person's property be given to someone else. Such laws should be abolished "without delay."

But, he warns, "the person who profits from such law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights," his entitlements. Bastiat's advice is direct: "Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else."
I will admit that the Bastiat quote was edited by me--I left some things out that did not directly relate to the subject at hand.

While I'm not advocating (entirely) disenfranchising segments of the population, I do support the notion that a worker is entitled to the fruits of his/her labor, and NOT entitled to the earnings of others.

Does anyone think the above quotes are no longer accurate?
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It seems that such a law would quickly lead to limiting the right to vote to only the wealthy and i'd hope that we'd all like to avoid that.
In the best of all possible worlds property taxes are reinvesting in the community and the benefits reaped by the community lead to increased value for the houses within this community. Better schools, roads, hospitals, etc improve the life for everyone in a community and yet i suspect that if you let home owners directly dictate how much money they should pay in property taxes you'd end up with a community that lacks the necessary funds to support these infrastructures. The sad fact is that too often when people are asked to contribute to the good of society they say no and if we allowed this we'd all be the worse for it. Taxes are not optional because they are not charity as a society we all need to accept financial reasonability for the society we are creating.
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure I understand this completely.

Are you suggesting that our citizens will only be allowed to give away their OWN money, and not everyone else's?

Shocking!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think we may be between a rock and a hard place.

If people don't have the right to vote they will probably revolt on the other hand once people realize they can vote themselves money the system will probably collapse.

We are probably fortunate that only about 60% of the people vote now. As that gets closer to 100% I think the new voters who so far have shown no interest in government may be inclined to action according to Tyler's quote.

I hope I'm wrong, I should probably have more faith in people to do the right thing.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianna
It seems that such a law would quickly lead to limiting the right to vote to only the wealthy and i'd hope that we'd all like to avoid that.
In the best of all possible worlds property taxes are reinvesting in the community and the benefits reaped by the community lead to increased value for the houses within this community. Better schools, roads, hospitals, etc improve the life for everyone in a community and yet i suspect that if you let home owners directly dictate how much money they should pay in property taxes you'd end up with a community that lacks the necessary funds to support these infrastructures. The sad fact is that too often when people are asked to contribute to the good of society they say no and if we allowed this we'd all be the worse for it. Taxes are not optional because they are not charity as a society we all need to accept financial reasonability for the society we are creating.
While I agree with you in principle, I differ in the details.

I am not suggesting disenfranchisement. However, the present property tax system reminds me of a group of wolves standing near a sheep and discussing what they should have for lunch.

In regard to facilities: It has been my experience that people will vote to pay for what they deem important.

Two examples: My county recently voted to keep a 1% sales tax earmarked for highway improvement. For the next FORTY years.

It passed with 67% of the vote. I can't argue with that.

Additionally, some of my neighbors got together and paid to underground their utilities. They weren't willing to wait ten years for the city to do it. This, in my opinion, is the proper philosophy. If you want something, pay for it yourself or do without. Don't require other people to pay for your wants involuntarily.

On a slightly different note, I oppose taxes to build low-income housing in some areas. In my state, it's required, even in some of the exclusive neighborhoods.


You therefore wind up with the unemployed and underemployed demanding the equivalent of a place on the French Riviera. That's just not logical, or proper. Or fair.

Just to round things out, I am not advocating an end to taxes. Just a reduction, something I've never seen in a Democratic administration.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It is my understanding that people who don't own property still pay property taxes indirectly when they pay rent. After the landlord marks it up.
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Old 02-12-2005, 02:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
It is my understanding that people who don't own property still pay property taxes indirectly when they pay rent. After the landlord marks it up.
Welllllll there's one thing for sure, someone is paying property tax on their living space.

We are all "born free" in America then we are all taxed to death, just some have to pay more than others.
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Old 02-12-2005, 06:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
It is my understanding that people who don't own property still pay property taxes indirectly when they pay rent. After the landlord marks it up.

Well, if that's the line of reasoning, should renters be allowed to deduct mortgage intrest from their income taxes? You know, since they're essentially paying the mortgage too
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Old 02-12-2005, 06:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
Well, if that's the line of reasoning, should renters be allowed to deduct mortgage intrest from their income taxes? You know, since they're essentially paying the mortgage too
I think that mortgage interest should probably not be deductable. I haven't rented for over 25 years but it seems that this is just another tax loophole. A straight forward flat tax on income would be fairer with no loopholes. A national sales tax may be even fairer.
I can see how renters could share in the property tax deduction but interest would be more difficult to determine with all the creative financing going on in the commercial housing market. Probably better to just close the loopholes and lower everyone's tax rate.

Last edited by flstf; 02-12-2005 at 06:22 AM.. Reason: added last sentence
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't own a house but i am desperately saving so that someday i might and the fact that i'll be paying property taxes does not in anyway change my mind. Homeowners are better off than renters. That's the main reason that you're going to have a tough time convincing me that homeowners are being mistreated.

People will pay for utilities that will directly benefit them but not all homeowners value contributing to the community that their home is in. this is especially the case in neighborhoods where most of the residences are rentals. these are often also poorer neighborhoods. if property owners are allowed to dictate what they are willing to spend property taxes on these neighborhoods will further suffer. Then you end with a system that fails the poorest among us in favor of making the wealthy more wealthy. how can you expect the poor to better themselves when their forced to go to the least well funded schools and live in neighborhoods with inadequate utilities?

I actually make a decent amount of money for a 27 year old single woman and while sometimes i glance over at the amount of money that i send to the tax man every pay period and dream about the home i could own, the vacations i could take and the swimming pool i could fill with change I know that taxes make a society work. and while i don't agree with some of the ways that the government has chosen to use my money i respect the system and I know that i have benefited from it. I went to public school, i take the subway everyday, i like having policeman and I want those who are less fortunate than me to have a chance to better their position. I am willing to pay for those things and so too often all of this complaining about taxes being too high (in a country that has one of the lowest tax rates in the developed world) sounds like so much greedy whining.
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Troy, NY
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCB
Well, if that's the line of reasoning, should renters be allowed to deduct mortgage intrest from their income taxes? You know, since they're essentially paying the mortgage too
But what fistf was saying is that the costs are converted into rent. Being that rent can be a deduction, all the other costs are already "vicariously" being deducted via the rent deduction.

Example, in NJ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ's state website
Eligible homeowners and tenants who pay property taxes, either directly or through rent, on their principal residence in New Jersey are eligible for either a deduction or a refundable credit on their New Jersey resident income tax return. Homeowners and tenants may be eligible for a deduction or credit even if they are not eligible for the FAIR rebate. Qualified residents may deduct 100% of their property taxes due and paid or $10,000, whichever is less. For tenants, 18% of rent paid during the year is considered property taxes paid. The minimum benefit is a refundable credit of $50.
Read it for yourself, if you wish.

Oh, and excellent point, fistf.
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'll keep on voting until they take the right away. Even though I know that us Libertarians won't win any time soon unless we cheat, I still see it as my reeponsibility to lend an extra vote to the party that everyone discounts and that actually reflects and represents my beliefs. While voting isn't as important as many other rights anymore because of the hilareous amounts of coruption involved in the process, I still value what it represents.
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
sob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
It is my understanding that people who don't own property still pay property taxes indirectly when they pay rent. After the landlord marks it up.
I wonder if that's true in rent-controlled areas.
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
sob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianna
I don't own a house but i am desperately saving so that someday i might and the fact that i'll be paying property taxes does not in anyway change my mind. Homeowners are better off than renters. That's the main reason that you're going to have a tough time convincing me that homeowners are being mistreated.
It will be interesting to see if your opinion stays the same if there comes a time when you're struggling to come up with the monthly payment, and some group of concerned citizens wants to raise your property tax to pay for low-income housing, or a treatment center for drug addicts in your neighborhood.

For that matter, in a few years, you might be trying to save for an education for your children. Property tax increases are particularly unwelcome then.

Quote:
People will pay for utilities that will directly benefit them but not all homeowners value contributing to the community that their home is in. this is especially the case in neighborhoods where most of the residences are rentals. these are often also poorer neighborhoods. if property owners are allowed to dictate what they are willing to spend property taxes on these neighborhoods will further suffer. Then you end with a system that fails the poorest among us in favor of making the wealthy more wealthy. how can you expect the poor to better themselves when their forced to go to the least well funded schools and live in neighborhoods with inadequate utilities?
Well, I favor school vouchers. And I need to know your definition of "adequate utilities."

When I was a kid, it was not unheard of for someone to say, "We don't have a phone, but you can call my neighbor and they'll come get me."

Now, cable TV seems to be classified as a necessity.

Quote:
I actually make a decent amount of money for a 27 year old single woman and while sometimes i glance over at the amount of money that i send to the tax man every pay period and dream about the home i could own, the vacations i could take and the swimming pool i could fill with change I know that taxes make a society work. and while i don't agree with some of the ways that the government has chosen to use my money i respect the system and I know that i have benefited from it. I went to public school, i take the subway everyday, i like having policeman and I want those who are less fortunate than me to have a chance to better their position. I am willing to pay for those things and so too often all of this complaining about taxes being too high (in a country that has one of the lowest tax rates in the developed world) sounds like so much greedy whining.
The problem, as I see it, is that everyone who wants to help the less fortunate always wants to do it with other people's money.

If I've interpreted your post correctly, you support a lot of government giveaways, but your support for some of them is only in name, since at present, you are not paying property taxes. You do seem, however, to think that houses are expensive. Have you given any thought to the reason, i.e. developer fees, taxes, permits, etc., which also allegedly support schools, roads, utilities, and the like? The above add between $50 and $100k to the cost of a house where I live.

It's no secret that property taxes exist because they're such an easy target--you can't pick up land and move it out of the country. They're also the only thing I can think of that's taxed EVERY YEAR, instead of at the time of purchase or use. I don't think the two are unrelated.

I will probably have to repeat this multiple times, but I'll reiterate: I am not advocating the abolition of taxes. I am saying that people who don't pay property taxes don't have any business voting for a property tax increase.

It's like a resident of Florida voting for someone running for Senator in New York.

Ooops. Bad example since that's already happened so much, but you get what I mean.
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:48 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
I will probably have to repeat this multiple times, but I'll reiterate: I am not advocating the abolition of taxes. I am saying that people who don't pay property taxes don't have any business voting for a property tax increase.
I'd still argue that the costs of property taxes get to everyone, homeowners and renters, at least indirectly, and nothing you've stated convinces me otherwise.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C4 Diesel
I'd still argue that the costs of property taxes get to everyone, homeowners and renters, at least indirectly, and nothing you've stated convinces me otherwise.
The way I see it, it's not much different than corporate taxes on domestic suppliers. People think they are raising taxes on the big guys but they just mark up the price of goods and services and pass the tax right back to us. I imagine when they mark up the prices they probably round up making it even worse than if we just taxed ourselves directly, LOL.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:26 AM   #17 (permalink)
sob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C4 Diesel
I'd still argue that the costs of property taxes get to everyone, homeowners and renters, at least indirectly, and nothing you've stated convinces me otherwise.
I long ago gave up trying to change anyone's mind in venues such as this, but I'll repeat an earlier question.

What about rent-controlled areas?
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: Moscow on the Ohio
Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
What about rent-controlled areas?
I've never lived in a rent control area but from a few short searches on google it seems that there are Rent Control Boards that adjust rates each year taking into account increases in utility, taxes and maintenance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating rent control. How big of a property tax problem is rent control anyway? Aren't the vast majority of rental units uncontrolled?
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I personally don't care that much about voting, at least on things that don't concern me. I am not a property owner, therefore why should I vote on property taxes?

Honestly, I think one of the current problems is that too many people are allowed to vote. I can't think of any successful business that is done by majority rule, most are based on what the correct thing to do is, not what most people want. You have decisions that are supposedly important being made by people who are for the most part of average intelligence (and that's being generous). Is there any reason that there are only ever average solutions?
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sob
I long ago gave up trying to change anyone's mind in venues such as this, but I'll repeat an earlier question.

What about rent-controlled areas?
Besides what flstf said, rent-control decreases property value accordingly (due to lower income potential), thereby decreasing the property tax. I also wouldn't make or break an idea based upon an exception, but that's just me.
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