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The Tax Shift Part II

November 24th, 2006 by Halli

There are, of course, arguments against the Idaho legislature’s shift of some school expenses from property tax to the sales tax. Democrats are aghast that the poor as well as the rich will be paying more in sales tax. Conservatives and Libertarians are pleased that everyone will be paying their share of school funding.

It is true that renters pay property taxes in their monthly rent. However, they generally remain blissfully unaware of that expense, since they never see the tax bill from the county treasurer. It is very easy for renters (and other non-property tax payers) to vote in higher and higher property tax rates, since they do not personally feel the pain.

And it is also true that landlords, when faced with increases in property taxes, cannot always pass them along to their renters because of market pressure on what they can charge. Thus, landlords may be left holding the bill, unable to recoup the increased cost of doing business.

A former county commissioner once informed me that roughly 35% of Bonneville County residents own their own homes. That leaves a whopping 65% who do not. (I can only assume that other Idaho counties are similar.) He explained that these figures make keeping the super-majority required to pass bonds and levy increases particularly important.

Time was that only property owners were allowed to vote. Perhaps it’s time to reestablish that practice, at least when property taxes are on the line.

Posted in Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

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