This is the time of year when property taxes come due. I am not one of those tax complainers. I think we need reasonable taxes to provide a reasonable level of services. My attitude toward the IRS can be found at an oldie but goodie link at the end of this essay.
I am a retired teacher living on a pension and Social Security. Fixed income. My property is evaluated at about $145,000. Fair market value. No problem. My property and school taxes for 2014 were $3,974.45. Let’s round up to $4,000.00.
For this $4,000.00 I paid for a school system . And a county road . My water comes from my own well. My electric I pay for to a private company. I have no kids in school. So, I pay $4,000.00 and get the benefit of the local road crew plowing the road (and dumping piles of snow across my recently plowed driveway) right after their donut run.
And I don’t mind. Kids need an education. A good education. And roads need to be kept in good repair. And the local town road commissioner needs to keep his otherwise unemployable extended family engaged in some meaningful employment. Keeps them off the streets. Or on the streets.
So, unlike many folks I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes. Which leads me to the following. One of my multitude of vices is watching some reality TV shows. Not the vulgar ones like the Duggars. But ones like “Cupcake Wars” or “Property Virgins”. People who are buying homes or cooking. Pretty mild stuff.
Recently I was watching a “Property Virgins” segment profiling a couple of new home buyers who were looking to buy in New York City. The Big Apple. They were being shown a brand new apartment in a new condo with a fantastic view. Across the East River. A view of the NYC skyline. A real million dollar apartment with a million dollar view.
The price? A paltry $1,000,000. A wee bit more than we paid for our first “starter” home, but what the hell. You got? Spend it. And, to be fair, it was a very nice apartment. Even had windows, floors and appliances! But the best part. The very BEST part for these new home buyers was that the property was covered by the NYC “tax abatement zone”. So, the average monthly property tax on this $ 1,000,000 condo was, according to the realtor, about “$10 a month”. For 25 years.
Let’s wait. I know that last two sentences destroyed 1.2 billion brain cells in the area of the brain called the ” Common Sensus Unbelievablus” so I will wait while you recover. And I repeat. The property tax abatement, for 25 YEARS, meant they would be paying $10 per month. That is (using my calculator) comes to $120 a year. For 25 years.
Some math. Using a calculator again. If I suppose my property tax does not go up and my assessment never goes up for the next 25 years (LOL) I will pay approximately $100,000 in property taxes. The folks who just moved into the $1,000,000 property with the view of NYC will pay, over the same 25 years , a total of $3,000 in property taxes. I will pay $970,000 MORE in property taxes than they will. At least. (EDIT: It was pointed out to me that my math is wrong. I will pay $997,000 more).
Now, I don’t begrudge the wealthy their ability to afford a million dollar apartment. Not at all. Nor do I envy them. I like where I live. But I do think that it may be nice if the top 1% paid their fair share. Or better yet, let ME pay MY fair share, based on what they pay. If I did, my TOTAL tax bill over the next 25 years would come out to $435.00. American money.
If my tax property bill was the same , per assessed value, as this condo, I would get a tax bill this year for….$17.40. That would be my fair share. I did the math.
I’ll pay it. And I won’t even complain