Friday, December 22, 2006

More Senior Tax Cut Madness

Dave Keelan's suggesting I don't have any sympathy for senior citizens, even though I am only four years away from receiving my AARP Card. Dave, becoming a senior citizen is my number one priority.

But seriously, proponents of the tax cut for the rich masquerading as relief for seniors are contending that seniors are actually being forced from their homes by high property taxes. (Is the tax break large enough to fix that problem for anyone who doesn't own a very pricey home?)

Remember the Estate tax swindle perpetrated by the Republican Congress? They claimed abolishing the Estate tax was necessary because families were being forced to sell their farms by the estate tax. Turned out, that they were wrong, no one could locate a single family that had been forced to sell their farm by the estate tax, not one! Even though the Republicans claimed it was a common occurrence.

Has anyone actually found a HoCo senior who has been forced from their home by high property values? A senior who didn't have the option of selling some of their equity to pay taxes (on their appreciating asset?)

Hey, its expensive to own a Porsche too, sometimes people have to sell their Porsches because of high repair and maintenance costs. Its a shame they worked so hard to buy that car and now they have to sell it. That just isn't fair, we need a tax break for Porsche owners.


Anonymous said...

You're equating having shelter to owning a high-end sports car? One's a necessity, the other a luxury. Somehow implying all of these people deserve a come-uppance because they bought something flashy is both fantasy and insensitive.

Remember, there are retired janitors, too, who now find themselves paying property taxes on quarter of a million dollar condominiums that were purchased at a time when they were modest homes.

Maybe we need to take a look at if all those property taxes are really needed. After all, where is all that increased tax money collected going?

Is there waste? Is it worthwhile to start looking? Should the County have staff dedicated full time just looking for ways to economize?

That would be more palatable than your favoring a policy change to correct a giveaway to the "well-to-do" that also takes a safety net away from the elderly poor and, disproportionately, elderly poor minorities.

Otherwise, you're advocating indigenous people of modest means getting the short end of the stick yet again.

Steve Fine said...

No, thats just the point I have been trying to make all along in post after post. This legislation gives No help to the least economically fortunate and only a little help to people in the middle, and way too much to people who are living in luxury homes.

People need transportation, but they don't need Porsches. People need shelter, but they don't need McMansions.

Waste in County Government? Where would you cut? We need some good ideas, because we are facing a pretty severe budget shortfall.

Even if we were not, shouldn't we be paying first responders and teachers more?

David W. Keelan said...

Steve, ok. This is the first time I think I have heard you say that this tax cut doesn't help the right seniors. So you support doing something but not this.

Glad to hear it. We are closer on this than I thought.

Tell us specifically how this bill doesn't help the seniors you are concerned about. The General Assembly guidelines are pretty clear about how to write this legislation. Perhaps you can start there.

I don't think we have any seniors who own 6,000 square foot homes that would qualify for this tax break. However, I have neighbors who live in $450,000 homes that do complain they will have to move if something is not done. They don't want to move and they should not be forced to.

Steve Fine said...


Back in October, I wrote:

"Note the real effects of this bill, it won't help seniors who are too poor to own property, or those seniors who have sold their property and moved into retirement communities or in with family."


"while the poorest seniors (those who will really need the relief) will get nothing because they don't own homes."

Its been a consistent theme throughout my zillions of posts on this subject.

Anonymous said...

Neither of those statements acknowedge those seniors of modest means who do still own there lifelong homes.

And why do you think seniors who've purchased homes in retirement communities aren't affected by drastically increased property taxes?

David W. Keelan said...


You haven't proposed an alternative. What do we do to help all seniors? What is it about this legislation doesn't work? Do you think the litmus test is too weak?

Anonymous said...

The litmus test is too weak. There should be an asset test.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:36 p.m.

Since your mention asset test, why not liabilities and owner's equity.

Heck let's go for revenue and expence, and why not an audited cash flow stament, for grins and giggles some lab work results.

Than there is the other option - KISS, Keep It Simple (for the) Seniors

Steve Fine said...

Fiddling with taxes is usually a bad way to implement social policies.

Anonymous said...

Your right Steve. I think we should just review the expenses incurred by the local government, using a zero based approach. I feel we would have a surplus if we did this. This would help with the up coming recession.