Welcome to the Abolish the Property Tax Blog!

My local property tax elimination goal, I call it "The Andrus Plan", is to consolidate all the small government feifdoms; towns, villages, sewer districts, water districs, fire districts, school districts, lighting districts, etc.. into the county governments. Through greater efficiency and professionalism we will reap the benefits of simplicity, greater transparency and reduced cost of providing essential local government services.
Step #1 = Simplify.
Step #2 = Consolidate.
Step #3 = Abolish the Property Tax.

Please share your ideas and thoughts on ridding us all of the unfair and ridiculous property tax.

Thank you,
The Citizens of the United States of America

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Support Grows for Abolishing Property Tax in ND

Step 1: Consolidate all school & local government fiefdoms to the county level (i.e. ONE "local" government).

Step 2: Abolish the Property Tax (in New York State and beyond).

Step 3: Realize the control Homeowners now have over their own property.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts on "Reforming" the Property Tax

To All Those Property Tax Reformers Out There,

Thank you for your efforts to reduce the property tax burden. The Property Tax itself cannot be fixed, however. In New York State, there has been much debate and some actual legislative testimony given to the ideas of a Property Tax Cap, and a "Circuit Breaker". "Reform" or "improvement", whether in the form of a circuit breaker or cap or phony-baloney relief check, "STAR" program, "EMPIRE ZONE", condo tax break or PILOT, are nothing more than a shift of the burden.

I disagree with shifting the burden of funding to "others", like the supposed "rich". As Benjamin Franklin wrote, "The ordaining of laws in favor of one part (of the nation), to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy."

The major problems with the property tax are the cost of it due to unrestrained spending by localities, the complete and utter unfairness of the assessment process, and the foolish efforts to "reform" or "improve" the property tax itself.

The only way to truly "fix" the property tax, is to abolish it.

Please place your energy into abolishing the property tax and the complexities of assessment and income won't need to be measured.

Thank you,

Chris Andrus

“The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson

www.abolishthepropertytax.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stop Trashing America's Future

John Avlon is a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for The Daily Beast. He is the author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."

John Avlon:
- It's become fashionable to say the American Dream is dead or dying
- He says such talk is a reflection of today's difficult economic times
- Avlon says America has faced much worse problems and has found ways to thrive
- He says diversity, innovation, freedom are powerful reasons to think future is bright

New York (CNN) -- Here's a New Year's resolution for the nation in 2011: Stop predicting the death of the American Dream.

This has become a popular parlor game in recent years, boosted by the malaise that always comes with a bad economy. Article after article speculates that America's best days might be behind us. It's also a symptom of the broader narcissism of the baby boom generation -- now that they're hitting 65, they feel like America must be sun-setting as well. It's not.

Yes, we've got serious challenges to face as a nation. But what era in American history has been pain-free? Heroic moments come with hard times.

We often glamorize the past, in large part because it's past. We know how it all turned out -- usually for the best. And if the past seemed comparatively pure and simple, that's because the people doing the reminiscing were children at the time, comparatively pure and simple themselves.

Particularly since the election of President Barack Obama, talk radio has been full of fantasies about the 1940s and '50s, a time of reigning small-town American values that are, according to this script, currently under conscious assault.

It remains unspoken that this rural and suburban idyll took place in a still-segregated America -- an inconvenient fact if you take the word freedom beyond a bumper sticker. Women's equality and gay rights were a distant dream. What passed for diversity was a measure of white ethnic immigrants being slowly and often reluctantly accepted by the WASP establishment.

All of which is a way of saying that America is always changing, we are always evolving -- often in fits and starts -- but usually in the right direction.

That itself is a reflection of the expanding franchise of the American dream. My grandparents' generation, dubbed "the greatest generation," was great precisely because it overcame huge obstacles. First, they faced the Great Depression and then World War II.

For the better part of two decades, Americans witnessed civilized nations being overtaken by demagogues and dueling utopian fantasies of communism and fascism that ultimately left millions of people murdered in their wake. Conventional wisdom among the chattering class was that democracy could not compete with dictatorships because of the inherent inefficiencies that came with freedom.

These were not simple times. They were piled high with difficulty, a clear and present danger that dwarfs even the serious threats we still face from radical Islamic terrorists.

We know that civilization will ultimately defeat these violent fanatics even if there are future terrorist attacks. It is a reason for vigilance and resilience, not internal accusations of weakness or defeatism. And the rise of major nations such as China and India as economic competitors is a dream of harmony compared with the rise of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in the 20th century.

The baby boomer generation confronted one of the worst years in American history -- 1968 -- when Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated within months of each other.

American cities burned in riots that summer, and we were embroiled in Vietnam, with thousands of casualties each month. Whatever turbulence we face right now, it is far short of that tumultuous summer.

And the 1960s were a walk in the park compared with the 1860s, when the nation erupted into the bloodiest war in our history, with hundreds of thousands of Americans killed on both sides. One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated days after the war ended, to be succeeded by one of our worst, Andrew Johnson, an alcoholic from Tennessee.

During the Great Depression, only three out of four Americans could find work. Today, the number is nine out of 10.

Today's joblessness is too high, and the long-term squeeze undergone by the middle class should be a national scandal, but we have been through far worse as a nation and emerged ultimately stronger.

One of the prime complaints we hear today about America is that business reacts badly to uncertainty. But by definition, the future is always uncertain. Deal with it.

Even the decades that seem like consensus "good times" in the rearview mirror of history were fraught with ups and downs and crises of national self-confidence.

We remember the 1980s and 1990s as times of great prosperity (aided by the fact that the baby boomers were in their fit and trim 30s and 40s). But I recently rediscovered the 75th anniversary edition of Forbes from 1992. The cover headline presented the theme of the entire issue -- "Why We Feel So Bad ... When We Have It So Good."

Inside were authors ranging from Saul Bellow and John Updike to Henry Louis Gates and Peggy Noonan analyzing the angst. Noonan's typically graceful essay offers this psychic snapshot: "Another thing has changed in our lifetimes: People don't have faith in America's future anymore."

Stop and remember that this was two years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Democracy and capitalism had defeated communist dictatorships after a half-century-long Cold War. Yes, we were weathering a mild recession, but it came after the Wall Street boom of the 1980s and ahead of the internet innovations of the 1990s. And yet national decline was the topic of conversation.

Moments of doubt and disaffection are part of the human condition. It is not a problem exclusive to America. It is not a reflection upon or the responsibility of any given president.

America has weathered far worse storms than those of our times.

Is the American dream dead?

The current round of doomsaying has been fueled in part by something different and more cynical -- a political culture in which extreme partisans on both sides believe they can gain tactical advantage if people think the country is going to hell.

Fear is a powerful recruiting tool in this business plan. It leaves professional polarizers in the media and politics rooting for a president's failure. Democrats did it toward the end of Bush's term and now Republicans do it to Obama. But you can't run down a country in the hopes of then being called upon to raise it up.

When you view our nation's problems with a sense of historic perspective, you quickly see that America has weathered far worse storms than those of our times.

The American Dream is alive and well. The franchise is expanding to a broader group than ever before. We have strengths that previous generations did not have -- and we have different problems as well. That's life. We need to toughen up and straighten our civic backbone. We need to build bipartisan determination to deal with challenges ranging from terrorist threats to cutting the deficit and paying down the national debt.

Each generation is given the opportunity and the obligation to confront the challenges of its time.

Americans today have rational reasons for optimism as we face the future. We are a diverse, dynamic and innovative nation founded on an ideal of freedom that continues to inspire individuals around the world. Together, we will keep the American experiment strong and growing as we work to form a more perfect union.

- John P. Avlon

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Let’s Resolve to Simplify the Tax Code

Let’s Resolve to Simplify the Tax Code
By George F. Will
Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON - Many parents have heard FICA Screams. Indignant children, holding in trembling hands their first paychecks, demand to know what FICA is and why it is feasting on their pay.

FICA (the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax) is government compassion, expressed numerically: It is the welfare state; it funds Social Security and Medicare. Sometimes it makes young people into conservatives.

Dave Camp was 14, working for his father’s garage in Michigan, when he made the acquaintance of FICA. Now 57 and about to begin his 11th term in Congress, he will chair the Ways and Means Committee, where he will try to implement the implications of his complaint that “the tax code is 10 times longer than the Bible, without the good news.”

His aim is “fundamental” tax reform, understood the usual way - broadening the base (eliminating loopholes) to make lower rates possible. He would like a top rate of 25 percent - three points lower than Ronald Reagan achieved in 1986, with what proved to be perishable simplification.

In George W. Bush’s 2004 speech to the Republican convention, he denounced the tax code as “a complicated mess” that annually requires “6 billion hours of paperwork” - now estimated at 7.6 billion. He vowed to “simplify” it. The audience cheered. Then he promised new complexities.

There would be “opportunity zones” - tax relief for depressed areas - and a tax credit to encourage businesses to establish health savings accounts. The audience cheered.

This is perennial mischief - using the tax code not simply to raise revenues efficiently (with minimal distortion of economic behavior) but to pamper pet causes, appease muscular interests and make social policy. Since 1986, the tax code has acquired more than 15,000 complications.

Many conservatives, including Camp, believe that although most Americans should be paying lower taxes, more Americans should be paying taxes. The fact that 46.7 million earners pay no income tax creates moral hazard - incentives for perverse behavior: Free-riding people have scant incentive to restrain the growth of government they are not paying for with income taxes.

“I believe,” Camp says, “you’ve got to have some responsibility for the government you have.” People have co-payments under Medicare, and everyone should similarly have some “skin in the game” under the income tax system.

In addition to the one-third of the 143 million tax returns filed by individual earners for 2007 that showed no tax liability, additional millions of households have incomes low enough to exempt them from filing tax returns. The bottom two quintiles of earners have negative income tax liabilities - they receive cash payments from the government via refundable tax credits.

If Barack Obama is accurately reported to be considering serious tax simplification and lower rates, he will have an ally in Camp - up to a point. Serious arguments about taxes are never just about taxes. They are about government’s proper size and purposes. Concerning that, Obama differs with Camp, who says: “Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem.”

Talk back at georgewill@washpost.com.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Debra Medina Tells Us Why Property Taxes Need to Be Abolished


Debra Medina, Photo by Spike Johnson

Please enjoy the lively posts in the blog that follows the Dallas Observer article: "Debra Medina Tells Us Why Property Taxes Need to Be Abolished".

Debra Medina was running for Governor of Texas, and advocates that property taxes should be abolished -- that's right, not cut, abolished. She points to an April 2009 position paper (Enhancing Texas' Economic Growth Through Tax Reform) by the Texas Public Policy Foundation as the foundation for her belief that a revised sales tax is a better option.

Medina says income and property taxes are the biggest drags on the economy, while sales tax has the least effect. She compares it to putting a heavy load on a mule's shoulder instead of spreading it across its back. And because Texas taxes only about half of the 168 items that other states do, she says there's a lot of room to broaden the base.

"For me, it's not about just the fiscal idea," she says. "It really is about understanding that it's an essential element of freedom. That's why you have to do it, but freedom and prosperity walk hand in hand. When you do things that give people more freedom, you see that the whole society will be more prosperous."

Isn't the scary part about that, though, is that it's less predictable what people are going to spend money on, whereas people have to pay their property taxes?

"But it gives us the real accountability that we need out of government," she says. "That's why we're hurting so bad right now."



Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Best Ways to Challenge a Property Tax Assessment


Many people challenge their property tax assessments every year, I have challenged my property tax assessment multiple times. Your assessed value is nothing more than a guess, a "shot in the dark" at what someone MIGHT pay for your home. Is this the best way to generate the necessary resources to run local governments? Absolutely not! You can challenge your assessment, and I encourage every property owner to do so; by over-burdening the system with our assessment challenges, the "status-quo" crowd of property-tax lovers will see the unfairness and inefficient burden that the property tax places on local governments in "guessing" what your property value might be every year.

Here are some grerat tips for challenging your assessment from www.changeofaddress.org:

Did you know that nationally about 1/3 of the people who challenge their property taxes actually win? It’s very possible for you to do the exact same thing. If you have found that your home has been assessed at a value far above its current market value then you need to seriously consider challenging the assessment. This has a lot of positive effects none more significant than you saving money immediately on your taxes. Since you are reading this article I’ll assume that you are either in the real estate or related industry OR you are contemplating challenging your property tax assessment and are looking for ideas to support your case. You will find a lot of similar articles on the Internet so we will work hard to dig a little deeper and get you off to at least a good start on a winning strategy.

Tip 1 – First take a step back and analyze how far off of the real market value you think the assessment might be. If you feel like it is 10% or more higher than what the true value of your home is then it is probably worth pursuing a challenge. If you think it is off by less than that given your chances of winning (1/3) along with the total tax savings will most likely not be worth your time and may actually end up costing you in the end.

Tip 2 – When determining the actual market value of your property you need to find comparable homes that were sold in your surrounding community. There are several ways you can do that including taking advantage of some online services. One that is super easy and a quick reality check is from Realtor.com and is located here: http://www.realestate.com/homepricecheck/. You can also contact a local realtor and get exact comps from them which is actually the ideal answer plus it’s possible that they have been in the comp homes making it easier for them to help you compare them to your house.

Tip 3 – Take a good look at the tax assessment for any errors about your home. You would be surprised what they might have wrong. Maybe they listed your home as having a pool and it doesn’t, or the wrong size, number of bedrooms, etc. This is extremely common and is also an easier way to get your assessment reduced (because it’s painfully clear it should be). This should be seen as something you HAVE to do rather than just a tip.

Tip 4 – Find out who the tax assessor is and who can help you get the assessment changed. Be courteous and setup an appointment to visit with them in person. Don’t suck up to them too much as they have heard every complement a thousand times. You just want to be courteous and respectful and if you are lucky they will help you understand the best way to combat the assessment. So when in doubt, ask.

Tip 5 – Either in person, over the phone, via email, or any other way of communication with the assessor make sure you sell the needed improvement and/or problems you are having with your home. Yeah we have a pool but the pump is broken, the drain doesn’t work, the concrete is all cracked, etc. Be descriptive and let them know that the house isn’t worth the current valuation they have in mind.

Tip 6 – Talk to your neighbors to see if they have any issues with their assessments and if any of them have been successful at getting their property taxes reduced. It’s very likely that they will either be in a similar situation or will have already won an appeal or lost one. Either way you can get some invaluable advice. In the worst case you will either get them thinking or at least get some sympathy/empathy going. It’s true that with property taxes misery loves company.

Tip 7 – Hire a real estate professional or attorney that focuses on fighting property taxes. This only makes sense if you think the assessment is way off (greater than 10%) otherwise it ‘s very possible that the costs of fighting the assessment is more than the savings. With that said, another reason to consider is that even if it costs you more this year to fight an assessment you could reap benefits for years to come making it potentially still viable.

Finally, one of the most important tips that we can give you is really more of an encouragement. If over 1/3 of the people are successful at getting their property taxes reduced nation-wide, you really do have an excellent chance of making it happen if you get informed and stick to your guns/take a stand.

Here are some other great resources on the web that may help you:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2163949_appeal-property-tax-value.html

http://blog.valueappeal.com/categories/tips-tricks

http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/7-tips-to-lowering-your-property-tax/

http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/taxes/5-tips-appealing-your-property-taxes

http://www.realestateproarticles.com/Art/16315/272/Tips-Tricks-for-Appealing-Property-Taxes.html

Sunday, August 15, 2010

N O T Made in America

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6 am.

While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG).

He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes
(MADE IN KOREA).

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today.

After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with GAS (from Saudi Arabia) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (made in MALAYSIA), John decided to relax for a while.

He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL), poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA.
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