‘Puter lives in Upstate New York, home of Buffalo wings, Genny Cream Ale and the Teamsters’ Pension Fund. Oh, and wickedly high property taxes. For example, ‘Puter pays nearly $8,000 annually on a house full value assessed at $194,000.
‘Puter was talking to his neighbor (the one who hates ‘Puter because of ‘Puter’s RV stored in the side yard, hereinafter referred to as “Crazy Neighbor”) the other day, and realized Crazy Neighbor paid significantly less property tax on his similarly valued home. This is because Crazy Neighbor gets a senior citizen income based exemption, significantly lowering his assessed value and therefore his final tax amount. So ‘Puter’s subsidizing Crazy Neighbor continued occupation of adjoining property and his torture of ‘Puter.
The rant follows.
Property taxes are just that. Taxes based on the assessed value of one’s property. If two houses are worth the same, they should bear the exact same tax burden. Ability to pay (income) does not and should not figure into property taxes. That’s what income taxes are all about. One is taxed on the amount one earns. New York has turned property taxes into stealth income taxes, and one that benefits retirees almost exclusively. New York’s senior citizen property tax exemptions are another instance of the intergenerational wealth transfer that is bankrupting America generally, and New York specifically.
It shouldn’t matter that Crazy Neighbor is old and insane; neither condition affects the value of Crazy Neighbor’s property. If Crazy Neighbor planned so piss-poorly that he can’t afford to pay his property taxes on the full assessed value of his house, then tough toenails for Crazy Neighbor. Sell your house and move. Your property is not worth less simply because you are old. Or crazy. Pay your fair share, oldsters! Let people who can afford to live in your houses do so. You know, folks who can pay the full taxes. The galling thing is that most of the oldsters in ‘Puter’s neighborhood can easily afford to pay full boat; they just game their income to maximize their tax advantage.
Heck, seniors are using up more of the local services anyway — they should pay more. New York is chock-a-block full of senior centers, programs and public facilities built just for old people. And our roads are buckling under the weight of their Buick Medicare Sleds they drive slowly to the supermarket at the height of rush hour. Seriously, is it too much to ask for you to stay off the roads when the people who are subsidizing your 40 year retirements are trying to commute to and from their jobs to support your shriveled butts? (Aside to Buick: How many of your customers are under 70? Seems like your customer base is dying off, literally).
Whew. ‘Puter feels slightly less homicidal. But this issue makes ‘Puter look a bit more favorably on ObamaCare with its Soylent Green geriatric health care option, though.