The property tax doesn’t seem to be on most homeowners’ mind these days. Why don’t homeowners simply give money away from their paychecks to help fund programs in education and the environment to combat climate change?
Here are some of the reasons why the federal government probably shouldn’t.
The tax, for example, isn’t on the homes, but on the money coming out of that homeowner’s pocket each year.
For instance: A $1,500 home in Portland that pays the state’s $1,250 property tax will pay $531 for water, sewer and other sewer service next year, but only about half a kilowatt-hour of energy, or about one-twentieth the cost of a solar array in Maine. And that won’t even pay for the solar system.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which states government shouldn’t spend tax money on anything that doesn’t directly benefit the taxpayers, says taxpayers should only pay for programs or projects that provide “material benefits to the public” and that they need to hold back on the amount of the benefit they receive.
The Federalist Society website says the only way to ensure taxpayer dollars don’t go to things like “green energy and climate change” or “public roads, rail, schools, colleges, libraries … the federal government’s primary focus,” is to set up a tax deduction for all taxpayers.
Here’s where the federal government comes in and why it’s not an asset, but someone to whom the homeowner should provide a financial help.
States give money to local governments on a piece of paper called an “asset tax.” But here’s the trick: Those same states are required to spend only 20 percent of the money they receive on infrastructure projects of their own making. Oregon is trying to cut that cost-sharing, and is seeking a tax exemption to make up the difference, even though the rest of the money spent won’t come from property taxes.
To get an asset tax to work, it probably will take a major overhaul. But Oregon wants to get more from the federal government by making it less important.
There are also some practical reasons that can’t be denied. Let’s take an example of an environmental project that could be made into money from property taxes and also the federal government. The federal government has long been known as a reliable economic booster for environmentalism. But this month, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would halt its efforts to regulate carbon dioxide pollution from the
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