Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Senior Tax Cut Sillyness

One of the comment's on my previous post repeated a lousy argument that I have been hearing in favor of the regressive senior tax cut:
[H]ow would you then address the problem of people who have contributed throughout their careers to help Howard County flourish, building its wonderful tax base, are now retired and on fixed incomes, and are getting clobbered by the property taxes resulting from the skyrocketing real estate prices to the point that they can't afford to stay in their homes?
This is a phony problem. If your property taxes have significantly increased because the value of your property has significantly increased, don't cry poor! You are faced with the happy option of either selling your home for an outrageous profit, or cashing out on some of your equity. So, if there is actually anyone out there who was forced to sell their home, they were compensated handsomely for their "misfortune."

Meanwhile, some people in our County are homeless. I wonder how the commenter would address this problem?


Anonymous said...

Who are the "homeless"? I remember for years hearing about those who lived under the bridge as you approach Ellicott City.

Are the homeless in their situation, because of Howard Co., or is it because of their mental condition?

Steve Fine said...

Yes, many homeless are mentally ill. but a large portion of the homeless population are children.

As for the mentally ill. Isn't it our moral obligation as a community to take care of these unfortunate people?

Anonymous said...

Steve, I am sincere with my line of questions, where are these children? Are these homeless children living in cars with their parents? I ask because I believe the citizens of Howard Co would never want a child to be without a roof over their head.

Yes, it is our moral obligation to care for the mentally ill. Often the family or an institution will provide for them.

Steve, I am trying to make the connect between homeless and low cost housing. I don't believe there is a connect. Even low cost housing needs some one to pay rent or the mortgage.

Anonymous said...

Being the original commenter, I would address the problem you posed as follows:

1. I wouldn't immediatley discount it as a "lousy argument".

2. I would agree the problem you posed does exist and would expect primarily publicly-funded resources would be brought to bear to quantify the problem and quickly and effectively provide solutions. I believe moral societies provide good safety nets for its members in need.

Because the homeless population has higher incidences of mental illness, poverty, illiteracy, weakened immune systems, etc., an umbrella of services should be applied along with shelter. Colocating such services (mental and employment counseling, education/skills training, etc.), with shelter seems prudent.

Your offered 'happy option' for those being taxed out of their homes isn't really that happy for people who really want to age in place, among neighbors, family, and friends. Nor is it that happy for people who, having finally paid off decades worth of mortgage, are very reluctant to jump into some kind of equity-spouting reverse mortgage just to stay afloat. No longer being able to afford to stay in one's lifelong neighborhood can hardly be considered being "compensated handsomely".

Some might even consider it a sneaky, little back door mass eminent domain land grab from those on fixed incomes, just giftwrapped to look like higher property taxes.

David W. Keelan said...

Anon 2. Thank you.