Property Tax Caps?

June 27, 2011

Property tax caps! Starve the beast!

The current skirmish in New York is the latest round in the battle between revenue and expense.

Local governments – sometimes trying to hide behind the shield of “unfunded mandates” – raise local property taxes to balance the local budget.

Taxpayers – perhaps feeling victimized — become enraged, and start a local TEA Party chapter.

Things can quickly get mean, ugly and out of control…

Could there be a better way?

In Indiana, property tax caps imposed as an outcome from 2007 property tax spikes, ended up with layoffs of police officers and firefighters, and significant increases in business fees, all because the caps reduced local tax revenues.

Commercial taxpayers in Illinois were angry with the caps because legislators allowed property-tax rates for businesses to be three times the rate for homes.

Property tax caps tend to be very popular with voters who are homeowners.

If we could couple property tax caps with government spending reform, we might have a real solution!

In New York State, let’s start by consolidating our 700+ school districts into 70.

Let’s get rid of the practice of packing 200% overtime for police and firefighters into the final 2 years to generate six-figure pensions. Let’s eliminate defined benefit pension plans. Let’s eliminate free lifetime health benefits.

There are likely dozens of other ideas that could do more good than trying to cap property taxes at 2%, but they will all enrage union representatives.

That goes right back to the premise that progress is only possible if we work together in an honest and non-confrontational way.

We need to find people who can focus on the needs of their future grandchildren.

That really helps to separate the wheat from the chaff….

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