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Wednesday, April 12, 2006



This is a pretty interesting concept. I love the "everybody pays" principle, as well as the notion that it will lower property taxes. One concern I have is what happens when people refuse to pay for a service they don't use. If you don't pay your property taxes you run the risk of losing your property. What happens to an older childless couple who is willing to pay more for police, but fails to pay their education bill because it is a service that they have never needed, and therefor sees no value in?


I know why we're not taxing churches, but it makes me uncomfortable to start taxing nonprofits and hospitals and leave churches alone. That sets religious organizations for a significant comparative advantage in providing social services, and I'm not sure that's the best policy decision we can make.

Charles Roberson

I agree it is an interesting idea, but execution is going to be tough. The collection of fees will be far more complicated. The issue of delinquency is also a serious question. Before a police officer responds to a call, will the caller's personal information be run through a computer to check if they are current on their payments? Can little Sarah be held out of class if her parents are late in their bills?

I'm also not sold that getting rid of property tax is the best way to highlight budgetary costs for the "consumers." Why couldn't one just break down the figures as mentioned by Anderson and then mail the figures out, or post them on a website. Why do the residents have to go through the motions of paying a bill? Was I the only one who found the proposed solution of eliminating the property tax as a way to address "undermined legitimacy" a bit extreme?

I like the idea of "everybody pays" also, but I like the idea of "everybody pays their fair share" even more. I don't think Anderson's solution is an inherently equitable one. Plus, why ARE churches excluded from paying in, when hospitals and other non-profits have to throw dollars into the pot?

That people don't know what they're paying for (or, apparently, what they're paying) when they pay property tax is an issue worth addressing (arguably in a personal finance class). I just don't think replacing the tax with a bill solves that problem, and in fact, it may very well cause more problems than it will ever solve.

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