Petitions seek vote on tax cap

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Steven Scharf
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Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Doug:School budgets do not back up your thinking. The the majority of property tax payers consistently vote to spend more money for schools in spending growth percentages that are far higher than the growth of income whether in our rural towns or in the state as a whole. Witness the fact that property taxes for schools have risen 150% over the last 7 years in SAD 48 with barely a murmur of discontent.

Steven Scharf
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Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Buried inside the PPH!Do you think the will find 9482 invalid signatures this time?

quote:Saturday, June 7, 2003
Petitions seek vote on tax cap
By From staff reports, Copyright © 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.The Maine Taxpayers Action Network has submitted petitions to the Secretary of State's Office to force a statewide referendum in 2004 on a tax-cap plan.Carol Palesky says her group filed more than 60,000 signatures with the state this week. Maine's Constitution requires only 50,519 valid signatures, but the Secretary of State's Office has yet to certify the signatures submitted. Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn declined to predict how long it will take to review the petitions.If the state certifies that the group collected enough valid signatures, Maine voters will decide in November 2004 whether to impose a cap on property taxes, unless the Legislature enacts the proposal before then.The referendum would ask voters: "Do you want to limit property taxes to 1 percent of the assessed value of property?"The 1 percent figure would be applied to a property's assessed value in 1996-97. For properties built, sold or transferred more recently, the base value would be the appraised value at the time of construction or acquisition.The plan would allow the base value of property to be adjusted by no more than 2 percent a year for tax purposes, with exemptions for property transfers within families.

Steven Scharf
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larryjohnson
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Prop 13 in Calif is now 25 years old. I was a homeowner under it for 18. I support it in ME. Carol Palesky is no Howard Jarvis,though.[ 06-07-2003: Message edited by: larryjohnson ]

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by larryjohnson:
[b]Prop 13 in Calif is now 25 years old. I was a homeowner under it for 18. I support it in ME. Carol Palesky is no Howard Jarvis,though.
[/b]

Prop 13 is unfair. Freezing valuations leads to huge windfalls for some and forces new homeowners to pay much higher taxes. It results in situations where two homes with the exact same value in the same neighborhood with one home being taxed at twice the amount as the other. The people living in the lower taxed home may actually be a position to afford to pay the full tax on the home but they get a big break simply because of the amount of time that they have owned the home. They are unlikely to but another home because of the hige tax break they get in their current home. The people paying the highest taxes often end up being young families who have just bought their first home. The system is totally nuts.

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Tax caps don't work. SPENDING caps do work.

Melvin Udall
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Proposition 13 is not unfair. Every house eventually sells and is reset to market value. In SC, houses turn over in an average of 7 years.Even the new buyer gets protection against double digit annual tax increases. What's fair about one property tax payer paying more than another to begin with? Or fair about someone paying $475K for a house that I bought for $35K?It doesn't cost anymore to pick up my trash than it does to pick up that of someone in twice the house or half the house I have. Nor does my car damage the road more than anyone elses, or do I require more police coverage than anyone else. Divide the budget by the number of properties and that's the tax bill.You're missing the point that Proposition 13's come along because of terminal frustration with politicians' complete and utter refusal to stop spending and stop taxing. The pols can complain all they want about how it won't work; as long as they do nothing, there will be attempts to shove something down their throat.Next step? Gray Davis may get recalled. I think JEB may be going for the GD prize on the east coast. GD added 25,000 state employees during his first term, and dug a $35 Billion with a B budget deficit hole.JEB is only 6 months in and he's rammed through socialized medicine at unknown expense on top of a lied about billion dollar deficit, and is about to have his way with "tax relief" that further punishes those who pay and further rewards those who don't. What's he going to do for the other 7 1/2 years he's in office?I'm betting major taxpayer financed "affordable housing" for one thing. Then taxpayer funded pre-school and daycare.Other ideas?PS: Proposition 13 reminds me of the old saw about getting a guy's attention; you know the one: once you've got them by the "bells", their hearts and minds will follow. Proposition 13 is to grab the pols by the bells.[ 06-07-2003: Message edited by: Melvin Udall ]

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]Proposition 13 is not unfair. Every house eventually sells and is reset to market value. In SC, houses turn over in an average of 7 years.[/b]

But the people who don't sell make out and the tax benefits of holding on discourage sales.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]What's fair about one property tax payer paying more than another to begin with?[/b]

That theory does not justify the distortions of Prop 13. Prop 13 still results in some people paying lots more in taxes than others. If we are going to have property taxes, basing them on market value is the only fair system.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]Or fair about someone paying $475K for a house that I bought for $35K??[/b]

That's called the free market. There is nothing fair about someone setting on $475K of value paying less in property taxes than the house down the street worth $150K.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]It doesn't cost anymore to pick up my trash than it does to pick up that of someone in twice the house or half the house I have. Nor does my car damage the road more than anyone elses, or do I require more police coverage than anyone else. Divide the budget by the number of properties and that's the tax bill.[/b]

You seems to be suggesting that we should do away with taxes and base them on fees for services. Dividing the budget per house makes no more sense than the current system because people do not use services equally.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]You're missing the point that Proposition 13's come along because of terminal frustration with politicians' complete and utter refusal to stop spending and stop taxing.[/b]

I understand that, but the system that was adopted to collect taxes is irrational and unfair. How much is spent and how you collect the money are two different issues.

Melvin Udall
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

They are unless you're a put-upon citizenry with very little recourse.Someone local did an analysis of what would happen if we went to a modified head tax arrangement, with accomodations for being elderly and for having children in school. It worked out to have very interesting results.Don't by any means claim that taxation by market value is the only fair way.The house up the street that just sold for 475K and the one on the other end that was bought ten years ago for half that use exactly the same services, at least on the basis of the property alone, and the intrinsic value of each is not reflected in market value, whick is in some respects entirely artificial. Check the waterfront house or waterview house situation.I don't understand why a select few of us pay for the defense of our country when it benefits everyone the same. Why should the top 50% pay 90% of the cost of government?Your flaw is in trying to be logical with the politicians on this subject. It's a foreign concept to them. So 2x4 politics needs to be used once in a while.[ 06-07-2003: Message edited by: Melvin Udall ]

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]They are unless you're a put-upon citizenry with very little recourse.[/b]

No. As threeputt points out, spending caps can work. You can't seem to seperate how the money is raised from how it is spent. These are two seperate issues.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]The house up the street that just sold for 475K and the one on the other end that was bought ten years ago for half that use exactly the same services,[/b]

Property value or the number of people in a house has nothing to do with the amount of services use. Some people produce lots of trash, others don't. Some use the town library every week and spend lots of time in the park. Others never use those services. Some have need for the cops all the time, some have never dialed 911.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]I don't understand why a select few of us pay for the defense of our country when it benefits everyone the same. Why should the top 50% pay 90% of the cost of government?[/b]

If we divided the cost of government by the number of people, many people couldn't pay their share. Any tax system has to consider ability to pay. Income taxes assume that those who earn more can pay more (even with a flat tax), sales taxes assume that people who spend more can afford to pay more, and property taxes assume that people who own property of greater value can afford to pay more. None of those systems are perfect, but dividing the cost of government on a per person basis would not work.

quote:Originally posted by Melvin Udall:
[b]Your flaw is in trying to be logical with the politicians on this subject. It's a foreign concept to them. So 2x4 politics needs to be used once in a while.[/b]

But when you start swinging the two by four, a lot of innocent people get hurt in the process.

mirgliP
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:I don't understand why a select few of us pay for the defense of our country when it benefits everyone the same

Don't feel lonely, I think there are a few more of us helping than you assume. But I would say that you and Bill Gates have a little more to lose than a single parent working for minimum wage, don't you think?

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by George:
[b]Prop 13 is unfair. Freezing valuations leads to huge windfalls for some and forces new homeowners to pay much higher taxes. It results in situations where two homes with the exact same value in the same neighborhood with one home being taxed at twice the amount as the other. The people living in the lower taxed home may actually be a position to afford to pay the full tax on the home but they get a big break simply because of the amount of time that they have owned the home. They are unlikely to but another home because of the hige tax break they get in their current home. The people paying the highest taxes often end up being young families who have just bought their first home. The system is totally nuts.[/b]

George, what are you taxing, an inanimate object or a person. If you tax the house, then the ability of the people living in the house to pay would not matter. If, on the other hand, you actually expect to receive a signed check from a human, then you must base that check on the persons ability to pay. Maines property tax scam, er, system, does not care about the individual. It's just a "gimme all your money" scheme. Note George, none of this would a problem in the first place if the government was not so atoundingly greedy.You have to start from a few basic assumptions to come up with a system that works.First, you have to assume we are vastly overtaxed
Next you have to assume the average person in maine is comparitively poor
finally, you have to assume the never ending greed of the goverment can never be slaked.To excuse the present system you must assume:We are undertaxed
People have infinite money
Businesses are stupid
The home one ownes will pay the taxSeems to me the second bunch of assumptions are pretty stupid, yet that is how Augusta legislates.So...citizens have to take matters into their own hands and starve the beast.

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by James:
[b]George, what are you taxing, an inanimate object or a person. If you tax the house, then the ability of the people living in the house to pay would not matter. If, on the other hand, you actually expect to receive a signed check from a human, then you must base that check on the persons ability to pay. Maines property tax scam, er, system, does not care about the individual. .[/b]

And neither does Prop 13. It favors those that have owned their home for a long time over those that have owned their home for less time. The current system has problems, but a Prop 13 style reform would only make it worse.

quote:Originally posted by James:
[b]Note George, none of this would a problem in the first place if the government was not so atoundingly greedy.[/b]

We are talking abot property taxes, which are raised and spent at the local level. Yes, mandates have an impact, but read your local papers about how people come out in mass when local officials propose cuts. The problem is not just politicians, it's the people who elect them.

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by George:
[b]But when you start swinging the two by four, a lot of innocent people get hurt in the process.[/b]

George, a lot of innocent people are already getting hurt. Being taxed out of your ancestral home simply to feed government greed does produce a small amount of pain on the part of the newly dispossed and homeless.Maybe, just maybe, the pain should be located with the politicians and not the citizens for a change.

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by George:
[b]We are talking abot property taxes, which are raised and spent at the local level. Yes, mandates have an impact, but read your local papers about how people come out in mass when local officials propose cuts. The problem is not just politicians, it's the people who elect them.[/b]

Exactly WHO comes out in droves? Have you ever been to a city council meeting? The people who show up are not the people paying for the service, it's those with their sticky fingers out for government largess, and those employed directly or indirectly by the government and paid with this largess. The utter lack of a spine on the part of most politicians is exactly why we need a change and waiting for Augusta is akin to waiting for the Easter Bunny.Democrats owe their power in this state to being able to extract lots of money from a small group of people who have it and route it to a bigger group that does not but who vote.The one exception is property taxes. The old, the poor and the newly married all own homes and all are being raped along with those greedy middle class people who normally pay all the bills. This is the reason that this tax cap will pass overwhelmingly if the state doesn't cheat and keep it from the ballot.Have you not noticed that EVERY plan for reform does two things? It raises MORE money for the state and it does nothing to curb spending.

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by James:
[b]Maybe, just maybe, the pain should be located with the politicians and not the citizens for a change.[/b]

My point is that Prop 13 hurts people. Young families just starting their careers and families end up paying much higher property tax bills than people who have owned their homes for a long time -- many of whom are people later in their careers at the peak of their earning power and without the expense of raising young children. Prop 13 turns the idea of ability to pay on its head. Along with cutting spending, the best way to deal with the problem is an expanded circuitbreaker program that gives a tax rebate to those who truly can't afford their property taxes. Of course, this solution is unacceptable to many because some of those who complain the most can really afford to pay their taxes. That's why they like plans like Prop 13 because ability to pay has nothing to do with getting a tax break. The break simply goes to those that have owned their homes for the longest period of time.The focus on how the taxes are raised misses the point that the problem is how much money is spent. If we are going to raise less in taxes, people need to be willing to accept less government spending. I'm willing to do that, but I see little evidence that a majority of the people of Maine are interesting in seeing that happen. It's easy to blame the politicians, but it is your friends and neighbors who elect them, who approve increased budgets at town meetings and school budget meetings, who show up at council meetings to complain about cuts, and who pass the bond issues at the polls. It's time that the citizens take their part of the blame for the problem. The politicians appear to be doing what most of the citizens want.

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by James:
[b]Exactly WHO comes out in droves? Have you ever been to a city council meeting? The people who show up are not the people paying for the service, it's those with their sticky fingers out for government largess, and those employed directly or indirectly by the government and paid with this largess.[/b]

And whose fault is that? We have a participatory democracy. Those who show up with a big group of like-minded people get there way.

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by George:
[b]And whose fault is that? We have a participatory democracy. Those who show up with a big group of like-minded people get there way.[/b]

Or as was said over 200 years ago:A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury..Alexander TylerWhen we become a mobacracy then we end up with the problems we have in Maine, a majority paying little or no taxes subsisting off a smaller group that foots the bills. As the pain and responsibility of governing dose not rest with those doing the voting, demagogues rise to the top (Strimling comes to mind) and promises are made. That those getting the benefit do not pay for the benefit makes it all that much more delicious.In Maine the examples are legion. The current Dirigo Health plan comes to mind. One group pays and another gets.Do you know that the top 50% of US taxpayers pay 94% of all income tax? :eek:

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by James:
[b]When we become a mobacracy then we end up with the problems we have in Maine, a majority paying little or no taxes subsisting off a smaller group that foots the bills. [/b]

The problem in Maine is not a mobacracy it is that most people stay on the sidelines. By the way -- in most communities in Maine, you do not have a situation where the majority pay little or no taxes.

Hadley E. Smith
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

I prefer reform that would ban or eliminate the property tax for schools and replace it with a higher or broader (or both), sales tax which would be revenue neutral reform, with a stabilization fund for education, a cap on growth of education spending, and a cap on growth of property tax spending for municipalities. This would be a big improvement in financing for schools, a much fairer way to fund education, and remove a huge defect in the local tax system.In the absence of a better reform, I will by all means vote for the 1% tax cap if I get the chance.

Doug Thomas
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

The property tax has been a good, stable, and reasonably fair way to raise the money to fund town government in Maine for more than two centuries.It has limits, because towns and school districts are spending beyond those limits we have a real problem. Get spending under control, and the problem will go away.You can try to raise the money from other taxes, but you still haven't addressed the problem. Government is spending beyond our ability to pay, and there's only one way to fix it.

mirgliP
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote: Do you know that the top 50% of US taxpayers pay 94% of all income tax?

You gotta love this statistic, It is tailor made for the neo-cons, but it is utterly meaningless.Include the payroll tax (both the employee and employer shares) and you will see a very different picture. The tax system is much flatter than you would like to believe.

HenryGonzalez
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Randy,Please elaborate. Provide some figures. Thanks.nd

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Randy, prove it! Remember, the payrole tax is also graduated, at least to a point where it hits, what, the top 10% of wage owners before a cap kicks in. Lets say you are the median household in Portland. According to the census, your household makes about $37K and you have 2 kids. You definitely fall into the under 50% of wage owners I speak of. Lets keep it simple and put all the earnings in the hands one person to avoid the ever popular marriage Penalty. Lets throw in a $6K deduction for home interest (after all, this is property tax thread.So what do we have?According to my 2002 Tax tables Wages, salary, tips = $37K
Adjusted gross income = $37K
Deductions non itemized 4X$3K = $12K
Itemized deductions, just taxes paid and home int say $8Ktotal taxable income $17,000
total federal tax owed $1954State Taxes paid total Income $37K
total deductions $19K
taxable income $18K
Total tax owed $$637Total Income taxes paid $2519 or what, 6% of total income.Now lets look at social security taxes;These taxes simply do not count as the person who pays in gets it back eventually. It is not a tax but a pension payment.Here we have the typical household in Portland paying a whopping 6 or 7% of their income in taxes. Just how many typical families does it take to fund the total state budget portion that is income tax? I don't know the number but it's a number several times the entire population of the state, if one simply assumes the typical household pays the taxes. No, the vast majority of the taxes are paid by a much smaller number of people and that is why the 94% vs 6% figure is important. We have a situation in which the majority of the people (potential voters) determine by their votes, how much the much smaller number of real tax payers will pay to support the entire population.It is simply not a good situation where a group that makes a small contribution to the total budget gets to decide what that total will be. It is also why a tax cap will pass. These same voters often DO own homes and pay far more in property taxes than in income taxes. To them the property tax is the only real tax paid and they feel, just like I do, that I am overtaxed. If you add in the knowledge that cutting property taxes will not cost them anything, as the money to make up the slack will come from the people who DO pay income taxes, well...
:eek:[ 06-08-2003: Message edited by: James ]

Hadley E. Smith
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Doug:It is naive to think that local democracy can or will control spending.Controlling spending cannot realistically solve the property tax problem because the majority of the taxpayers (50%) pay only 15% of the tax. I have the figures of four towns to prove that. The low income majority will always outvote the other half which pays 85% of the tax bill.Second, the property tax is grossly unfair on the premise that a fair tax must be proportional to income which the property is not because it is a tax on saving, mainly homes, and therefore is acutely regressive for seniors.The proponents of shifting from the property tax for schools to a sales tax, other than myself, have not given this justification but it is the fundamental rationale for reform of school funding.Among the evils of the property tax is the fact that it is taxing many seniors (including me) out of their life long, ancestral homes. My family has been here over 150 years but we are getting very close to being taxed off this homestead and out of the state of Maine.[ 06-08-2003: Message edited by: Hadley E. Smith ]

mirgliP
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:These taxes simply do not count as the person who pays in gets it back eventually. It is not a tax but a pension payment.

Taxes that do not count, a new concept, I suppose. And what if the person dies before they reach the now rising retirement age? Do thier hiers get the money? And what of all that whole life insurance masquerading as Medicare. If you think that payroll taxes are not taxes, then the sky is not blue, and the earth is not round.[b]Social Security is not a pension plan, you have no vested rights in it![/b]

Doug Thomas
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Hadley, I find only one flaw with your logic, the property tax is too high even for the bottom 50%.We can and we will control local spending if the state will give us back the tools we need to do it.

Carole Graves
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

Not to change the subject, but some months ago we came down to Augusta for a "Billion Dollar March" and signed a petition that was started there based on the tax and spending plan used in Colorado. We've never heard another word about that petition. What happened to it? Who was the group circulating it? Did they just drop the idea after that one day?It seems that Colorado is one of the few states not in financial trouble. Can someone get the people who started this petition to finish it? I don't know who they are, but if I find out and know about any other project they start I will be a whole lot less willing to support it knowing that they simply start something and then drop it. I would sure hate to think they did it just for the momentary press and attention and then just forgot about it.Can someone in the know please light a fire under them?Dagny T.

Ray Richardson
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

dagny,Debi Davis is the petitioner and I organized the "Billion Dollar March" rally in Augusta.THis is where we are to date:Currently, we have just over 41,000 certified signatures which is about 10,000 short of what is needed.As you may recall, Debi petitioned the Secretary of State on September 14th. We got the petitions four(4) days before the November election. It left us little time to prepare as many who wanted to circulate petitions begged off to help other candidates since it appeared we would not have them in time for election day.Further, when she petitioned the SoS, we assumed(erronously) that we would have the petition back by the 21st of October (plenty of time to get the petitions to eveyone so we could collect all our signatures that day) as that met our interpetation of the law on his timelimit. He apparently interpeted the law differntly and we got them roughly 10 days later.This point is relevant because we had the tax cut portion of the petition begin January 2004, which would have followed the November 2003 election.Since taking our petition to the November 2004 election would make the tax cut RETRO-ACTIVE to January 2004, we have sought advice on how best to proceed.We will announce the last week of June 2003 where this petition is headed as our information gathering will be complete by then. There are several options on the table. It is important for Maine families that we make the right choice as it appears the Legislature has little intention of doing anything constructive to improve the business climate, lower the tax burden or provide property tax relief to working Maine families.I hope this answers your questions. I spoke with Debi Davis before responding because she is the petitioner. She agrees with this analysis.Ray[ 06-08-2003: Message edited by: Ray Richardson ]

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

quote:Originally posted by Randy:
[b]Taxes that do not count, a new concept, I suppose. And what if the person dies before they reach the now rising retirement age? Do thier hiers get the money? And what of all that whole life insurance masquerading as Medicare. If you think that payroll taxes are not taxes, then the sky is not blue, and the earth is not round.[b]Social Security is not a pension plan, you have no vested rights in it![/b][/b]

Randy, let me put it another way. Social security is a ponzi scheme in which existing workers pay for the benefits of those taking the benefit. The difference is, there will always be a benefit. Even if you crap out and don't collect, your family often does. What I meant to say is social security is not a tax in the sense that the mney goes into the mill and YOU never see it again. Examples abound about the difference. Retirees long past kids, single people, or families without kids paying vast property taxes to keep other peoples kids in school. There is no relationship between what they pay and what they get. With social security, you get back most if not all of the money invested. You get it yourself. So, how can one call these payers taxpayers in the normal sense when they are paying a fee that provides them with money eventually. A tax is supposedly for the general good, social security taxes are for the payers benefit.It's why I have a problem with those who whine that the latest tax cut des not pay a benefit to those who do not pay income taxes. They claim these people pay other taxes, but is that true? by the time you add in the dependents, the earned income tax credit, the low rate paid in the first place, most of the people specified already get more money back from the government than they pay. What is proposed is welfare, plain and simple.

James
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Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

George post - That theory does not justify the distortions of Prop 13. Prop 13 still results in some people paying lots more in taxes than others. If we are going to have property taxes, basing them on market value is the only fair system.My post. George, this is the same as saying "because greedy politicians never saw a spending program they didn't like a whole lot, it is just and fair for only the rich to live on the banks of the ocean and lakes. Poor people just have to live in their happy landlocked ghetos if they cannot come up with the money someone else says their home is worth. Time to pack their bags and leave the family home. Councilor Smith wants to pander to his voters and needs more money."Sorry, nothing just or fair in that.

Anonymous
Re: Petitions seek vote on tax cap

James: The problem with Prop 13 is that poor and middle class people who have recently bought their homes have to pay higher taxes so the poor and middle class people and rich people who have owned their homes for a long time can get a break. That is more unfair than the current system.If we are really concerned about people that can't afford their property taxes, the answer is to give a rebate to people who pay more than a certain percentage of their income in property taxes. That is what the circuitbreaker program does, but it is currently too limited to help anyone but people with really low incomes.

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