Saturday, May 14, 2022

Property Taxes


The governor has said that he wants to cut property taxes.

Property taxes are very regressive, first you need to own property that is taxable, for many low income and marginalized communities that is not possible.

Second for many people living on fixed income like retirees it hurts them when taxes goes up and property value goes up. This is seen in many vacation areas like the shore or lake front properties. Many of the homes and farms that have been in families for generations are being forced to sell. When I was in Bar Harbor over fifteen years ago and there were a number of articles in the local media about a farm that was up on the market to be sold. The farm was a working farm on the ocean that was in the family since around the Revolutionary War but the property owner said that the property tax has nearly doubled each year because of the value of the house and land were skyrocketing. The article said that he sold the property for millions of dollars and the builder from Boston was going to build over two dozen 1 million dollar homes on the property.

On the Cape they also have a housing crisis, the summer employees cannot find housing. In the town next to where I have my cottage the town wanted to put in low income housing, but… (You always know there is but somewhere.) the neighbors sued to block the development, after a four year battle they lost. It will be a mixture of low income condos and seasonal apartments. While in Provincetown a whole block was sold  and the new owners what to keep the restaurant for themselves, and covert the apartments to upscale condos, keeping the less desirable apartments to seasonal help.

In Hartford I read that homes were being bought out by large hedge funds, fixed up, and rented out in a price range that locks out most of the residents of Hartford.

Between the rising interest rates, and the skyrocketing price of home, home ownership is becoming even more out of sight for the average income person (Forget low income buyers they were already priced out of the market.).

What the Democrats have proposed is a property tax cap, over a certain mill rate the state will pay the difference. Say if a city has a 40 mill property tax rate and the state caps it at 30 mills per thousand, the state will pay the city the difference, Well I am a staunch supporter of the Democrats but that is ridiculous! If that passes I can just see the cities raising the mills rates, say they raise the rate to 60 mills, that would mean that the state pays the difference, where is the incentive to keep taxes down?

Suppose instead of a cap, the state reimburses the property owners directly? That way the state can tailor the tax relief to low income people to help them buy property.

The state could also focus the tax relief on multifamily homes. The town where I live has zones large areas to multifamily home, but (Here we go again with the “buts.”) they are next to highways, railroad tracks, and next to swamps (Ops… I mean wetlands.).

I saw on the news that we are short millions of housing units, lets talk about how we can cut that shortage and still allow people from all income levels to own their homes.


1 comment:

  1. Your ideas would make sense, but I don't really see that as the government's goal these days. It truly seems like they are trying to eliminate the middle class.