Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Rare Saturday Post: On the Tax Post

On Thursday, I posted an item about Alameda property taxes and I received a couple of comments. One of the comments was place in the Alameda Snapshot post, so I pulled it out for every one to see.

Perhaps the question we should be asking is "Which of these taxes does not directly benefit the property?" And we need to remember that everything except the 1% County tax (which is shared among the taxing agencies) are approved us, the voters. Did you look at the increase in the CPI over that same seven year period by any chance?
Just some thoughts, 

Juelle Ann raised a good point I should have looked at CPI before the post, but I did not think about it. So, this morning I went to the US Department of Labor's website, It appears that the increase was about 14.4% from 2001 to 2008. Juelle Ann's question  "Which of these taxes does not directly benefit the property?" is subjective. I would suggest that everyone would have a different response if asked. Examples are the Hospital and Measure H, both were approved by voter but a good portion of the community would answer that these fees do not benefit the property. On the other side of the coin, at least 66% of those who showed up to vote would say they do.

I think that; I poorly articulated what I was trying to say: With Prop 13, taxing agencies have continued to come back to property owners in different forms (bonds, special assessments, districts). When voters approve a fee, they do not do it with tax bill in hand, it is done on individual merit. Over time we may over-tax property owners and make it even more difficult to own in Alameda.

The other comment was:


Anonymous said...

If your taxes had increased 15% rather than 25%, would that change the nature of your complaint?

The increase amount does matter, affordability is a key issue in the Bay Area and many families with good incomes have a hard time purchasing a home. If the tax increases outpace inflation and wages then you will see more people forced to give up their homes.

I guess it could be worse: (story on Mare Island, Vallejo)

1 comment:

  1. Prop 13 alone would have increased your property tax by around 15% in the period you mention. The 10% on top of that is voter-inflicted special assessments, most of which require 2/3rds approval.

    According to the SSA, the average wage in the US has risen about 23% in the period 2001 - 2007.

    So is a 25% increase too much? Apparently not, if you consider these measures. I think the base price of the property is a much larger element in affordability than the property tax increase.

    (And the question "Which of these taxes does not directly benefit the property?" is not just subjective, it's also totally irrelevant. Very few taxes we pay are directly associated with a commensurate service provided in return. The special assessments on our property tax bills are some of the few taxes that even come close to that. You pay Measure H, you fund local schools. You pay the hospital tax, you fund the local hospital. Where your ad valorem tax dollars end up is anyone's guess.)