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$540,701,000,000: U.S. Property Taxes Hit Record in 2016

Discussion in 'Topical Discussions (In Depth)' started by BarnacleBob, Mar 28, 2017.



  1. BarnacleBob

    BarnacleBob GIM Founding Member & Mod. Founding Member Site Mgr Site Supporter

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    Americans paid a record $540,701,000,000 in property taxes to state and local governments in fiscal 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    That was up $16,748,620,000—or about 3.2 percent–from $523,952,380,000 in property taxes (in constant 2016 dollars) that state and local governments collected in fiscal 2015.

    The prior national record for property taxes was set in fiscal 2009, when they hit $527,850,500,000 in constant 2016 dollars. Fiscal 2016’s record total of $540,701,000,000 was up $12,850,000,000—or about 2.4 percent—from that previous record.

    The nationwide state and local property tax receipts for fiscal 2016 were released last week with the Census Bureau’s “Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue for 2016: Q4.

    [​IMG]

    The fiscal year 2016 that the Census Bureau references in this data is the year that runs from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. That is because most states end their fiscal years on June 30.

    The Census Bureau defines “property taxes” as “taxes imposed on ownership of property and measured by its value.”

    “Property,” says the Census Bureau, “refers to real property (e.g., land and structures) as well as personal property; personal property can be either tangible (e.g., automobiles and boats) or intangible (e.g., bank accounts and stocks and bonds).”

    Although total inflation-adjusted state-and-local property taxes hit a record in fiscal 2016, inflation-adjusted property taxes hit their per capita peak in fiscal 2009.

    In fiscal 2016, the $540,701,000,000 in property taxes that state and local government collected equaled about $1,673 for every one of the 323,127,513 men, women and children the Census Bureau estimated were residing in the United States as of July 1, 2016.

    In fiscal 2009, the $527,850,500,000 in property taxes (in constant 2016 dollars) that state and local government collected equaled about $1,721 for every one of the 306,771,529 men, women and children the Census Bureau estimated were residing in the United States as of July 1, 2009.

    [​IMG]

    Most of the property taxes were collected by local governments. Of the $540,701,000,000 in total property taxes collected nationwide in fiscal 2016, according to the Census estimate, $16,040,000,000—or about 3 percent—was collected by state governments.

    http://patriotrising.com/2017/03/27/540701000000-u-s-property-taxes-hit-record-2016/
     
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  2. ^updated^

    ^updated^ found a way in Silver Miner

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    Wow, big number! Almost as much as is spent on the military each year. At least the money was mostly spent locally instead of Iraq or wherever.
     
  3. BarnacleBob

    BarnacleBob GIM Founding Member & Mod. Founding Member Site Mgr Site Supporter

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    I'm not gonna make any excuses for the raping & exploitations of the bureaucrats by justifying what amounts to outright theft & confiscation of property & labor by employing Heglian logic, i.e. At least the money was mostly spent locally instead of Iraq or wherever.

    In fiscal 2016, the $540,701,000,000 in property taxes that state and local government collected equaled about $1,673 for every one of the 323,127,513 men, women and children."

    $1673 per year for every man, woman & child in the U.S.A. is unjustifiable, and this number does NOT include local & estate excises on goods such as gasoline, communications, etc. or indirect taxes such sales taxes, etc. or regulatory taxes such as drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, building & inspection permits, etc..... Nor does it reflect the various Federal revealed, unrevealed & hidden excise, duties & impost taxes...

    Geez, wasnt there a revolution in 1776 when the Kings taxes & duties exceeded 3+%??? Screw the bond holders, roll back the taxes at minimum 75%!


    The Tax Poem
    by: Author Unknown

    Tax his land, tax his wage,
    Tax his bed in which he lays.
    Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
    Teach him taxes is the rule.

    Tax his cow, tax his goat,
    Tax his pants, tax his coat.
    Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
    Tax his work, tax his dirt.

    Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
    Teach him taxes are no joke.
    Tax his car, tax his grass,
    Tax the roads he must pass.

    Tax his food, tax his drink,
    Tax him if he tries to think.
    Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
    If he cries, tax his tears.

    Tax his bills, tax his gas,
    Tax his notes, tax his cash.
    Tax him good and let him know
    That after taxes, he has no dough.

    If he hollers, tax him more,
    Tax him until he’s good and sore.
    Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
    Tax the sod in which he lays.

    Put these words upon his tomb,
    "Taxes drove me to my doom!"
    And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
    We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.

    This poem is presumed to be in the public domain; no copyright or credit information can be found.
     
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  4. nickndfl

    nickndfl Midas Member Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    I know people that pay $30-$50k annually just for their multi-million $ primary residence. I was shopping for a place on the Indian River, but the insurance and $10k taxes are just too much. I have a piece of property on a canal off the river where I plan to build my next home. I expect the house to top $350k with a pool and taxes to hit $4500.
     
  5. Aurumag

    Aurumag Dimly lit. Highly reflective Midas Member Site Supporter

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    Thus one can never own property, because the KING's portion must be paid in perpetuity.
     
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  6. the_shootist

    the_shootist The war is here on our doorstep! Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    Quite right old man...quite right!
     
  7. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    From a local paper...................

    Senate bill would force six votes for school district property tax hike



    Councils Rock School District's tax increase last June, which passed in a 5-4 vote, wouldn't have gone through if legislation that was unanimously advanced by the state Senate Education Committee last week had been law.

    Senate Bill 406, sponsored by Montgomery County Sen. John Rafferty, R-44, requires a two-thirds majority — a sixth vote — for school boards to raise millage rates.

    "Unlike the state, where most revenue is generated by the personal income tax, based on what an individual is making, or what people consume across the counter or online, we're leaving it for school districts to tax what has become the most important part of ownership, which is one's house," said Rafferty, a former school director in Methacton. "This will allow more deliberation, more sharing of information among the local school boards. A person should own their home until they themselves decide they want to move, and this gives them a chance to do that."

    In the event that not all board members show up for the budget vote, he said six votes would still be needed to pass a tax increase. "They should vote out those who don't bother showing up for a budget vote," Rafferty said.

    School board members consider the measure, which passed the education committee with bipartisan support, the continuation of state interference with local decision-making.

    "It's another example of Harrisburg meddling at the local level," said Neale Dougherty, president of the New Hope-Solebury school board. "That's not helpful. Every board is different and every board has a different combination of directors. To apply a blanket rule from Harrisburg to shape policy in the way they think they can shape it is misguided."

    Ed Tate, president of the Council Rock school board, said directors work at reviewing and revising budgets before adopting a millage hike.

    "Nobody takes a tax increase lightly," he said. "It's certainly ironic that people in Harrisburg are telling us how to do our business. This legislation would not accomplish anything positive for our students or for our taxpayers."

    As school directors look over annual spending plans they often decry state mandates like retirement, special education and charter school costs that they can't control.

    "When boards raise taxes they do it because it's a necessity," Dougherty said. "Often they do it to keep up with unfunded state mandates. Harrisburg should be addressing unfunded state mandates rather than meddling with the mechanics of a board vote."

    Al DerMovsesian, a school director in Upper Moreland, said when property taxes rise "we hear from people in our own neighborhoods, at the supermarket or Little League field."

    On the other hand, he said, state lawmakers are hundreds of miles away in the state capital.

    "How often have we heard (from state officials) that the federal government shouldn't be imposing on us?" DerMovsesian said. "This is an extra hurdle that doesn't serve the local community best."

    On psba.org, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association has responded to the measure by asking the legislature to hold itself to the same standard it is asking of school boards.

    "PSBA asks that the legislature lead through example by first passing legislation that requires a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly to increase state-wide taxes, and to then extend that requirement to not just local school districts, but to all local governments with taxing authority in the Commonwealth. It is our belief that this type of systematic change should apply to all taxing bodies in Pennsylvania, and that the legislature should lead the way since this change will require a constitutional amendment."

    Rafferty, who said he believes the public is supportive of his plan, added that the Legislature must pass laws in two bodies and needs the governor's signature. Additionally, funding for Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate. Larger municipalities also have a mayor to deal with.

    "I've heard all the excuses," he said.

    Last June, when it passed a 2.4 percent tax increase, a $106 hike for the owner of a property assessed at the district average, Council Rock cut 40 full-time positions, half in the special education department.

    "We faced some really difficult challenges," said Tate, the board president, who voted for the increase. "We made numerous tough calls in terms of funding the kinds of programs we need to provide to our students. No one was happy with having to approve a tax increase."

    Asked if the board would have found a sixth vote had the legislation under consideration been law, Tate said "absolutely."

    "Board members sometimes vote 'no' to protest the necessity of a tax increase," he said. "Another might vote 'no' out of displeasure with cutting staff positions. But in the end we know we have to pass a budget."

    Enjoying our content? Become a Bucks County Courier Times subscriber to support stories like these. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 44 cents a day.

    Gary Weckselblatt: 215-345-3169; email: gweckselblatt@calkins.com; Twitter: @gweckselblatt

    http://www.buckscountycouriertimes....db4-8fe3-5ac43fc61d69.html?hp=top-fourstories
     
  8. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford Midas Member Midas Member

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    BB, $1600 is unjustifiable? My property taxs cost me about $1700. The town gets about $600 of it for trash pick, street repair, street lights, postage and office materials, mowing and upkeep of public grounds, liability insurance and minimal payments to board members and town clerk. The local township gets about $100 mostly for fire protection. The county gets about $400 for stuff the county does (road work, county mounties, snow removal, court house activities etc). The library gets about $50 a year and the school get about $500.

    At the end of the day, I hate paying $1700 a year but when I step back and break it all down, I am not willing to really give up any of the services listed above in order to reduce my tax liability.
     
  9. arminius

    arminius Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
    Patrick Henry
     
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  10. edsl48

    edsl48 Silver Member Silver Miner

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    NOt only did we get a tax hike here there are referendums on the ballot to get even more. This is one of the "advantages" of living in a liberal college town
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  11. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford Midas Member Midas Member

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    The trash pick up on our taxes is unique. We have 100 homes in our town. Because of the town pays the bill in full in two installments to the waste hauler we get a significant discount. He does all of our homes for $15 a month. However, the people down the road that use this same guy get hit for $18 for the same service. They pay individually by the month and don't have "buying power" as individuals.
     
  12. nickndfl

    nickndfl Midas Member Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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    It costs the hauler more to bill and collect individual accounts. Then there is the myth of subscription service where a community allows several haulers to service the same neighborhood as a means to reduce rates. It's nothing but headaches and nobody makes $. In fact, most of the profit is made on the commercial side with dumpsters and roll-off boxes or compactors.
     
  13. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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  14. Alton

    Alton Gold Member Gold Chaser

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  15. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    On the local scene............

    Centennial school directors lash out at proposed legislation that would restrict property taxing authority


    Legislation in the state House to restrict a school district's right to challenge property assessments is being described by Centennial school board members as a "disaster" and "disgrace."

    House Bill 1213, which passed through the Commerce Committee in a 19-8 vote, could potentially cost Centennial $3.3 million and the 500 districts in Pennsylvania $677.4 million annually, according to an analysis of revenue for the 2015-16 school year by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

    Centennial passed a resolution last month and unanimously ratified it Tuesday night. It has been sent to Gov. Wolf and General Assembly, but doesn't appear to have made an impact, according to school director Mark Miller.

    "Our resolution has been received but doesn't seem to have been heard," said Miller, who predicted it would soon pass the House.

    "It is a disaster, it is a disgrace," board member Jane Schrader Lynch said this week. At the prior board meeting, she asked residents to voice their disapproval to legislators. "It's going to affect you so deeply you won't believe it. ... Please do not just sit there and allow this to happen. ... To me this is dire."

    Director Michael Hartline said, "If they're going to take away our ability to at least fight some of these organizations it's going to be devastating."

    The board's resolution states: "Centennial would be forced to cut programs and trim investments in student achievement and growth. Our homeowners, especially those on fixed incomes, cannot absorb this revenue loss and this bill would be detrimental to the citizens of Centennial School District."

    The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Warren Kampf, R-157, who represents part of Chester and Montgomery counties. It has 11 GOP co-sponsors, including state Rep. Robert Godshall, R-53, of Hatfield.

    In his February memorandum seeking support for the legislation, Kampf states the Uniformity Clause in the Pennsylvania Constitution does not allow a county to single out a property for a reassessment. The Pennsylvania courts have allowed school districts to pick properties they deem undervalued for taxing purposes and seek more money through what's called a "spot appeal" of the county's assessment.

    "A significant number of school districts now routinely appeal the county assessments of individual properties to increase the revenue they use to balance their budgets," Kampf's memo states. "These spot appeals are of properties where no improvement has occurred, or any change by the county assessor has happened."

    In describing the real estate assessment process, the Pennsylvania General Assembly's Local Government Commission said that while a county assessment office may not revalue a property following its sale, such a sale "may alert a taxing district, such as a school district, to appeal the (county) assessment based on the sales price."

    Such a practice by school districts, according to Kampf's memo, "literally has the effect in some cases of hammering a property owner with a huge tax increase after he has decided to buy the property and participate in our state economy. It strikes me as one of the most anti-competitive government practices in existence today."

    Godshall, who said he served on the Souderton Area school board for 17 years, has said he's going to take another look at his co-sponsorship after receiving phone calls from area superintendents.

    "It's a matter of fairness," Godshall said about his co-sponsorship of the bill. "That was my rationale."

    In a 2014 report, the Pennsylvania Apartment Association said school districts have used the spot appeal process to get more tax money out of apartment complexes that a school district deems undervalued.

    "Current law provides no restrictions and school districts answer to no one regarding their reasons for picking one property owner over another for appeal," the association said in its report, which at the time was prepared in support of a House bill that had the same goals as the one now before the General Assembly.

    Miller, the Centennial director and former president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, said while Pennsylvania ranks 46th nationally in state funds for education, "they find it very easy to take money away from public education. ... Whatever money the state takes away from public education, school districts are forced to put on the back of our taxpayers, which is a hardship. Especially for those on a fixed income. We don't want to do that. We also don't want to cut programs."

    Enjoying our content? Become a Bucks County Courier Times subscriber to support stories like these. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 44 cents a day.

    Gary Weckselblatt: 215-345-3169; email: gweckselblatt@calkins.com; Twitter: @gweckselblatt

    http://www.buckscountycouriertimes....-8546-6a831902d3a1.html?hp=mid-moretopstories
     
  16. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    No tax increase but 34 staff cuts in final Bensalem School District budget
    Despite pleas from about 50 people to find another way, the Bensalem school board Wednesday night approved a final 2017-18 budget with no property tax increase but 34 staff cuts.

    Board president Kim Rivera and fellow members Dave Rizzo, Ankit Parikh, Kathleen Lesnevec, Marc Cohen and Pamela Strange voted yes on the budget, while Heather Nicholas, Wayne Lewis and Anand Patel voted no.

    Dozens of residents, teachers and students among an audience of about 250 in the auditorium of Bensalem High School urged the board during public comment to reconsider the cuts. Many said they would rather pay more in taxes than see teachers and other school district employees lose their jobs.

    Raising property taxes 2.5 percent, the maximum allowed Bensalem for next school year, would have raised about $2.3 million in revenue and saved roughly 20 of the jobs, Superintendent Samuel Lee estimated.

    A 2.5 percent hike equates to 3.886 mills, or $91.74 more in annual taxes for a resident with a property assessed at the school district average of $23,607. That's $7.65 a month.

    "My Netflix subscription costs $10 a month and I would gladly give that up to see my children get a better education," said one parent. "I can find something else to watch. I can find a book to read."

    After an uproar over the proposal to cut three full-time music and three full-time art teaching positions in the elementary schools, school district officials decided to restore those positions. They said putting them back was made possible by increased property assessments.

    But the 34 other staff position reductions spread out over the elementary, middle school and high school levels went through. Among the many positions being cut are deans of students, English as second language teachers, reading specialists, secretaries, attendance aides and custodians.

    Lee has said repeatedly throughout the budget process that Bensalem and other public school districts across the state are put in untenable financial positions by state required expenses that the state mostly doesn't help pay for.

    As examples, he said charter school tuition payments for Bensalem will be $14.3 million in 2017-18. Special education expenses are projected to be $28 million next school year, with the state pitching in only $4.3 million of that amount.

    Expenses the school district has control over have increased an average of only 1.33 percent a year over the last eight years, said Lee.

    "It's forcing us to make tough decisions we wish we didn't have to make," said Parikh. "None of us want to make these gut wrenching decisions if we didn't have to, but we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. This board has raised taxes fairly regularly over the last eight years, and I don't think taxing our way out every year is a viable solution. At some point, we have to live within our means."

    In addition to the savings from the cuts, next school year's $150.6 million budget uses about $7 million from the school district's $20 million savings account to close the gap between projected revenue and expenses.

    Some of the staff cuts will be handled through attrition, meaning that the people in those positions are retiring and won't be replaced, but Lee and Director of Business Operations John Steffy haven't given a final number on how many.

    Lewis reiterated that the state has put Bensalem and other districts in very hard situations.

    "The problem is Harrisburg," he said. "You have to get after your state representatives and senators and have them fix the problem."

    Enjoying our content? Become a Bucks County Courier Times subscriber to support stories like these. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 44 cents a day.

    Chris English: 215-949-4193; email: cenglish@calkins.com; Twitter: @courier

    http://www.buckscountycouriertimes....e7-a6a2-bbe1eee7b753.html?hp=mid-threestories
     
  17. mtnman

    mtnman Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    $3 a month is NOT "buying power". I burn my trash in a barrel.
     
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  18. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford Midas Member Midas Member

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    I get it you live in the country. Try burning trash here, which is against county and city ordinances not to mention state law. If caught, the fine is way more then the trash bill not to mention the FD gets dispatched for you trash fire and they bill you for the run.

    Pretty sure it is illegal in TN too, unless it is done in a incinerator type receptacle with chimneys and other mechanisms. You can get buy with it till someone bitches and then bitches again followed by more bitching. Laws suck and unfortuatley we can't pick and choose which ones we follow and get upset with consequences.
     
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  19. mtnman

    mtnman Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    Nothing illegal about burning trash in my county. As a matter of fact it's encouraged by the County Commission to keep the landfill in check.
     
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  20. southfork

    southfork Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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    As with most .gov agencies they are bloated with useless positions, more waste. Id wager they could cut 1/2 of most .gov employees
     
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  21. southfork

    southfork Mother Lode Found Mother Lode

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    Imagine taxes up again, sad this is one of your highest living costs if retired and they dont include it in the inflation index for cola raises for seniors. I for one would forgo any .gov services for 0 taxes.
     
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  22. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford Midas Member Midas Member

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    State law always trumps the county (unless the county law is more restrictive). See if the county commissioners will pay the fine for you.

    https://tn.gov/environment/article/apc-open-burning
     
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  23. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford Midas Member Midas Member

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    Seniors are the number one user of ambulance and paramedic services in my area.
     
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  24. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Around here trash p/u averages $23 monthly (waste & reclyclables.) And you aren't burning anything.
     
  25. edsl48

    edsl48 Silver Member Silver Miner

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    Regarding the school boards here in my area of Illinois the school district has demanded and received permission to review all applications to the assessor to lower assessed values before a lowering can be granted. Illinois tax entities are scrambling for dollars at the moment and interestingly enough the people here have no idea what their assessed values are based upon my interactions with them. However I might add they know every statistic known to the world regarding the St Louis Cardinals baseball team.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  26. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    'Live within our means'
    • 11 hrs ago

    Some 250 people packed the Bensalem school board meeting last week, many in opposition to planned staff cuts. They begged board members not to hurt the district's educational programs by eliminating critical teaching jobs and crucial support staff. Some said they'd gladly pay more taxes to avoid layoffs and maintain the district's academic integrity.

    The board was not swayed. Members voted 6-3 to eliminate 34 jobs.

    It was the right thing to do.

    We don't mean that in a harsh or heartless way. Certainly board members were not harsh or heartless in explaining why they had to cut jobs. They spoke of the anguish they experienced in making what was a very difficult and painful decision.

    Indeed sometimes painful financial decisions must be made in order to avoid financial catastrophe. The school board finally took action to help stem the ever-rising tide of tax increases that have washed over taxpayers year after year after year. This is not the case just in Bensalem; every school board has largely failed to look out for taxpayers. In Bensalem, things finally reached a tipping point.

    "None of us wanted to make these gut-wrenching decisions if we didn't have to, but we're stuck between a rock and a hard place," said board member Ankit Parikh. "This board has raised taxes fairly regularly over the last eight years, and I don't think taxing our way out is a viable solution. At some point, we have to live within our means."

    "Live within our means." Lots of families do that. In fact, most every taxpayer in Bensalem and the rest of solidly middle-class Bucks County does that because they have to. They have no choice. Spending cannot exceed income or debt will consume and ultimately ruin a family's financial well-being. You can only go to the well so many times.

    Not so much with school boards and most every other government entity. They've been gifted a bottomless well. When the money runs out, they just raise taxes and the well is replenished.

    It's largely why school boards have handed out imprudently steep pay increases and overly generous benefits to union-represented teachers for decades. Not to mention the whopping salaries bestowed on their too numerous administrators. The irony is that this is spending over which boards have control — control they have failed to exert in the face of threatened teacher strikes.

    In their defense, school boards have been getting a raw deal from the state for a long time. Harrisburg consistently fails to meet its financial obligation to schools. Yet state lawmakers have likewise shown no restraint by handing off an ever-growing list of unfunded mandates to school boards — the "hard place" board member Parikh spoke of.

    Then there's the public pension crisis lawmakers created through their own selfishness, a now $62 billion mountain of debt. It is another expense school boards cannot control but have to include in their budgets. And so they must control what they can. Bensalem has begun that difficult process. Other boards should follow their example.

    Enjoying our content? Become a Bucks County Courier Times subscriber to support stories like these. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 44 cents a day.

    http://www.buckscountycouriertimes....cle_a3fbdb60-c4b3-5c66-84b2-6fd3e1c375b8.html
     
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  27. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Bucks, Montgomery school officials challenge plan to have districts live on sales, incomes taxes


    Area school officials are attacking legislation that would change the way districts are funded, significantly limiting most property taxes in favor of increased sales and income taxes, and shift control of revenue from local school boards to Harrisburg.

    Senate Bill 76, the Property Tax Independence Act, introduced this week, would increase the state's income tax from 3.07 percent to 4.95 percent and raise the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. Additionally, to make up the nearly $14 billion needed to fund the commonwealth's 500 school districts, the sales tax would expand to cover more goods and services that are currently exempt.

    "This would be crippling, There's no question about it," said Stephen Skrocki, North Penn School District's business manager. "Our biggest concern is that real estate taxes are not impacted by the economy, so we have a stable source of revenue for the school district. If you move to revenue streams that are highly sensitive to the economy, how can you live up to your promise to replenish those revenues?

    "What happens in an economic downturn? Are they going to make us whole? Will there be any increase?"

    Should the measure become law, homeowners in North Penn, the state's seventh-largest school district with nearly 13,000 students and a $252.2 million budget, could be negatively impacted as SB 76 would eliminate property taxes paid by businesses. The district would lose out on revenue from commercial enterprises like Merck and Montgomery Mall. Merck alone pays $12 million in property taxes to North Penn.

    "Merck is an excellent community partner," said Skrocki, who called the legislation "philosophy first, economic second."

    "It's a big tax break for big business," he said. "It's not being replaced with another tax that businesses have to pay. Corporations don't pay a personal income tax. Yes, their employees will pay a higher sales tax, but that won't match the property tax."

    Christine Verdier, chief of staff for Sen. David Argall, R-29, Berks and Schuylkill counties, the bill's sponsor, said Pennsylvania's Constitution, specifically the "Uniformity Clause," prevent mandating it to affect residential homeowners only.

    "Unfortunately, it's a constitutional issue," she said, adding that the measure is Argall's "number one priority."

    Both the Republican and Democratic Senate policy committees are holding a forum on property tax reform 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Pocono Mountain East High School in Swiftwater, Monroe County. The forum, open to the public, will include discussion on SB 76, a school property tax freeze for seniors, a constitutional amendment to allow for the elimination of property taxes for homeowners only and property tax reassessment reform.

    The Senate bill has eight prime sponsors — four Republicans and four Democrats — and 12 co-sponsors, including Sen. Robert Mensch, R-24, of Montgomery County.

    Two years ago, a Senate vote on the same bill ended in a 24-24 tie. It was defeated when Lt. Gov. Mike Stack broke the tie.

    Lawmakers continue to hear from residents about rising school taxes eating up a greater share of their savings. David Baldinger, who leads the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations, is one of those voices. An advocate of the legislation for years, Baldinger said his opponents "are in absolute panic mode" and are using "exaggeration and lies by omission."

    On loss of local control, he said the legislation "removes the ability of some five school board members to raise property taxes at will. School districts are free to use money any way they wish. For them to say the sky is falling and Harrisburg is going to control our schools is just an out-and-out lie."

    Baldinger said the measure calls for a "dollar-for-dollar replacement for all property taxes eliminated in any district. It gets back every penny. They're using that as an excuse to fight the bill."

    Act 1 of 2006, the state's property tax law that allows tax increases based on an inflation formula, plus exceptions for items such as retirement and special education costs, would end. Under Argall's plan, any district seeking to spend above the allotment from the state would need to seek a voter referendum. Districts could increase the local personal income tax or earned income tax if approved by the voters in that district.

    A portion of the school property tax would remain only to pay off debt service.

    School leaders across the state, including those in Bucks and Montgomery counties, have voiced opposition to the plan.

    Ed Tate, Council Rock's school board president, said, "In theory, helping property owners with their significant tax bills is a good idea, but not at the expense of giving up local control and potentially reducing the amount of revenue to local school districts."

    At a recent meeting of the Quakertown Community School Board, director Ronald Jackson said, "I would love to see property taxes go away, but my biggest fear is that we give all that money to Harrisburg, then we have to hope and pray that any funding formula they create would be equal to what we get from property taxes — and I don't trust them. I think they will fail miserably with that tax (to fund all schools)."

    Matthew Malinowski, business manager for Upper Moreland schools, said he is "uncertain about the revenue proposed as an alternate to property taxes and its ability to be available, reliable and provide support for our educational programs.

    In an op-ed, Quakertown Superintendent William Harner called the legislation "short-sighted."

    "Before considering such a major shift in school funding, our elected leaders in Harrisburg need to make the ‘heavy lifts’ first, which they haven’t done yet. They need to first solve the PSERS crisis, then start controlling expenses, reduce or eliminate unfunded mandates, and balance their own budget. ... There is no doubt tax reform is needed badly! Let's do it systematically! ... Before we simply hand over $15 billion of our hard earned money to leaders in Harrisburg, we should expect them to get their own financial house in order. Building trust is important! The consequences of not approaching tax reform thoughtfully and in the right order could be devastating to public schools and our economy throughout the Commonwealth."

    Skrocki, North Penn's business manager, said he understands the plight of some homeowners. "I think something should be done to target the most needy. I 100 percent agree with that."

    He suggested an expansion of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

    "If the impetus is to help the people who are most needy, that's a very noble cause and I'm all for it. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

    Enjoying our content? Become a Bucks County Courier Times subscriber to support stories like these. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 44 cents a day.

    Gary Weckselblatt: 215-345-3169; email: gweckselblatt@calkins.com; Twitter: @gweckselblatt

    http://www.buckscountycouriertimes....-5eab-884d-53102c108dfb.html?hp=top-mainstory
     
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  28. edsl48

    edsl48 Silver Member Silver Miner

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    Yes but, "It's for the children!"
     
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  29. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    lol
     
  30. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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  31. Cigarlover

    Cigarlover Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    k -12th grade i runni9ng at least 10k a year per student. That figure may be a couple years old too. Community college is probably cheaper.
    Do e really need brand new 50 million dollar schools?
    So we spend on average 130k per student to put them through a gov mandated school program and when they get out they are basically qualified to work at McDonalds or wal mart. Of course they might also qualify to get into a good college and take on 100k in debt for that fancy 4 years education so that when they get out they can get a 30 or 40k a year starting job. The student loans should be paid off by the time they are 40 though so no biggie.
     
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  32. Cigarlover

    Cigarlover Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    With todays technology, every kid should get a computer issued to them so they can go online and take classes there. I also think if kids want to go to school at all the parents should have to pay for it, not the taxpayers. When did all of that start anyway. Must have been around 1913.
     
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  33. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    'Half-baked' bill: Another big mess?
    • 9 hrs ago


    Harrisburg has a bad habit of generating bad ideas that create big messes. Some of those bad ideas have produced financial crises, such as the public pension time bomb. Others have led to scandals that landed legislators in jail.

    A new bad idea, if approved by voters, would amend the state Constitution. The Homestead Exclusion Amendment theoretically could lower or even eliminate property taxes for homeowners.

    While that sounds like a good idea, the measure could create another big mess. That's because the amendment would give every school district, municipality and county the authority to lower or eliminate property taxes.

    Wow! How great is that?

    Well ... maybe not so great.

    The flip side is that each of those taxing entities would have to replace the lost revenue. They could do that with any tax they choose. For example, they could incorporate a personal income tax. Or, and this is the head-scratcher, they could establish their own sales tax, a true nightmare scenario for the business community.

    As one critic told our reporter, "It would lead to an absolute hodgepodge of a taxation system." According to David Baldinger of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations and a property tax foe, "There could be 2,600 different taxation models if everyone came up with their own and financed it any way they wished."

    Mark Miller of the Centennial school board was kind with his assessment. "I don't think it's well-thought out," he said.

    Ya think?

    Neale Dougherty, president of the New Hope-Solebury school board, was more direct and, in our view, more accurate when he called the proposal "half-baked."

    That harsh review is supported by an example from Baldinger: Say a school district enacts a sales tax of 10 percent and a neighboring district has a sales tax of 6 percent: "With that kind of discrepancy," he said, "what happens to a car dealer? Where are you going to buy a car? I don't see this as a viable alternative."

    Apparently lawmakers do. The state Senate last week passed the measure by a vote of 46-2, a month after the House approved it 190-0. Those actions mark the second time each chamber passed the legislation, the benchmark for a constitutional amendment to go on the ballot. So now it's in voters' hands.

    Our suggestion is to get educated before Nov. 7. We intend to take our own advice because, at this point, we don't get it. The whole concept just seems, well ... wacky — or as Centennia'ls Miller more politely put it, not well-thought out.

    We started our primer by talking to state Rep. John Galloway, D-140, of Falls Township, who voted for the bill. He called the measure a "first step" toward "uniform" elimination of the property tax, meaning statewide.

    Galloway admitted that if not followed by the next step, uniformity, the amendment "could cause problems ... We have to take the next step," he said, pointing out that funding schools with property taxes produces disparate quality. He called it "education based on a zip code."

    He's right about that. But we're not so sure this is the right way to fix the problem. We're hopeful it doesn't turn into another big mess.

    Enjoying our content? Become a Bucks County Courier Times subscriber to support stories like these. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 44 cents a day.

    http://www.buckscountycouriertimes....cle_0269583f-47fa-55ac-b330-0027984d9f98.html
     
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  34. Cigarlover

    Cigarlover Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    I actually like it. It forces property owners to get involved if they want change. The easiest way to change things is locally.
    If all the locals get together and decide that they dont need a 50 million dollar school then they have the right to decide that.
    I say video the classes for a year and then the following year all classes are done online. It would be a huge tax savings. Class would probably be finished in about 3-4 hrs a day. No bussing, school payments, teachers salaries, pensions, and a host of other savings.
    I envision something like Jr's and Sr's in HS taking up to maybe 5 kids in to baby sit for parents where both parents work. Maybe charge 50 bucks a week per kid so they take in a cool 1000 a month. Gives many a decent job and then they are there to answer any questions from the younger kids about their online classes.
    The town can supply the computers and class materials. Parents pay for the daycare if they need it. Costs are greatly reduced on all taxpayers.
     
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  35. edsl48

    edsl48 Silver Member Silver Miner

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    While I fully agree with you the reality where I live the schools are predominantly baby sitting services. Parents could care less about the classrooms because they have more important things to do.
     
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  36. Alton

    Alton Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    Public education has been a boondoggle since it's inception. John Taylor Gatto, former New York City awarded teacher, has done an outstanding job of documenting the inception and cancerous expansion of public education not only in New York but all across the country. It's origin is in Prussia (the European country) to provide obedient fodder to the military.

    PUBLIC education must die.

    However, to support a prosperous and, hopefully, enduring society, children MUST be educated. It's under current societal pressures and norms children do NOT receive much of a worthwhile education at home from their parents or guardians. The cause of this is the reality of an out of control government AND a debt based economy. America is so screwed up it can't even grasp why it's so screwed up and at this point it's residents and it's governments have neither intent or will to become unscrewed up. So, we're not just screwed up, we're screwed. Yeah, I've had a number of hardware issues this week and screws are on my mind so Alton has had a lot of screwing going on...of the hardware kind.

    Anyway, this issue absolutely will not be solved by government. Furthermore the middle class and above "educated" women and, of course, some men, are wholly convinced that the greater part and benefit of public education is for the purpose of "socializing" little Johnny and little Susie. This is to mold the little munchkins into interactive components of society. To see how this works see Antifa and/or BLM, any political party, any social institution, any NGO, any government, any business or corporation. EVERYBODY in the USofA has received some level of public education...yes, even ALL of the illegal immigrants, including those who have over-stayed their work visas.

    There is NO question that education does indeed open doors to employment and pursuits that provide a higher standard of living and/or renown and who does NOT want that for their children? Typically such education could be pursued through private education institutions. However, one must question just how many of these private institutions actually exist. Any institution that accepts federal monies, whether research grants, student funding or even federal subsidies of ANY kind, is now the bitch of the federal government, it's new slave, bought and paid for with YOUR tax dollars. Such institutions become the new slaves to and obedient servants of any and all federal mandates. This is so pervasive that one must ask exactly where are those independent educational institutions? The answer is that they very, very few and very far between. Most are religiously oriented which is now highly distasteful to many people. The majority of professors and instructors in the common govbitch institutions are wholly warped in the brain and the few that do not bow the knee to the leftist dogmas of institutional education lack the testicular fortitude to stand and proclaim what is right and so their knowledge and opinions are quite deeply diluted lest they be ostracised from their "profession". From this perspective "higher education" and thus all institutionalized education is, in effect, merely another religion, despite it's secular appearance. Dogma does not promote freedom or prosperity.

    So, what can be done? Placing the responsibility to educate their children on the shoulders of parents is at best a practice with an extensively proven track record of limited success. However, it is quite clear that the populace at large is NOT responsible to provide for the education of the children of others. The cheme of making the public at large financially responsible for the education of ALL children does nothing but to impoverish the public through taxation AND provide a well worn path for the acceleration and expansion of mediocrity throughout the whole of society over generations. Look around you for all the proof you need of what I say, you can't miss the extended generational failure of public education.

    Such a course has other impacts and outcomes that cannot and should not be overlooked. We've all heard tales of and seen movies about "Mad Scientists". These clowns are all hopped up on the power of their own ideas coupled with a psychopathic arrogance and hubris of their own importance and their apotheosis of science as the god of the ages...whom they happened to have harnessed and fervently worship. In reality these are the folks who've brought such modern wonders mustard gas, nuclear bombs, GMOs, thimerosol with mercury as the stabilizer for those vaccines you get on recommendation of your doctor and numerous "public service announcements", CRISPR gene splicing and now, resurrected Horsepox - Beware the Horsepox Virus . Yes sir, better living through the wonders of modern genetic manipulation. Add some carbon nanotubes to the mix and who knows!?! Why you can now die by things never known or naturally occurring on earth thanks to the wonders of modern genetic scientists. Never fear! Your genes could possibly live on forever in a new species of lab created worm! Great legacy that is. I never knew I could aspire to be a chimera. Just think, this is all possible thanks to the gods of education and science.

    Is this where we really wanted to go? Is this why we willingly accepted the burdens of taxation? Is this why we sacrifice our children and therefore our future to the demands and tortures of public education? Instead of sacrificing to the sexual abuse of priests of Moloch who burn the used up bodies of children as the consummation of the sacrifice, we now have public education that provides all the sexual abuse to ANY predator, all the torture of any procedure cooked up by the education establishment and instead of burning the used up bodies and minds of the children they are turned loose on society to "make the world a better (bitter?) place". Nothing like having dysfunctional misfits as children thanks to the efforts of modern public education.

    If you sense a certain bitterness, a dash of astonishment, a pinch of a sense of incredulousness in my tone you would be quite correct. It's difficult to comprehend why parents would sacrifice their children to any god but one so lowly a god as public education is just unimaginable. Are human standards really so low? Apparently since it such standards are virtually non-existant and most likely thanks to the efforts of public education. A vicious cycle indeed.

    At this point it would seem the only solution would be to blow up ALL public schools and educational institutions and let the bricks fall where they may.
     
  37. dacrunch

    dacrunch Platinum Bling Platinum Bling

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    You don't "own" your home if every 20 years you have to pay your Town its "purchase price" (5% of value/year), over & over & over... That's why I try to stick to only "income-producing" properties (multi-units), where the rents cover all expenses. Much harder to find today than 20 years ago... especially if you're living in one of the units (no income from that one)...

    I owned an old farmhouse I fixed up. Its water supply was a gravity ground well. We'd get bugs & tadpoles from the faucet. The town had City Water across the road - end of the line. I asked to drill under the road and connect to the Town Supply, but they told me "There isn't enough volume or pressure, it's just a 2" plastic pipe." I asked "When do you think of upgrading it?" - Answer: "We just did, from a 2" galvanized pipe. And we can't add you to the line." ... So, it would have cost $500 to drill under the road to hook up... but instead I spent $5k drilling a deep well. A few months went by, and I got my new property tax bill with a big increase for "improved water supply". Felt like torching Town Hall... or siding the house with tar-paper, make it an eye-sore and "bring down its value"...

    In the same town, a guy built his "full basement", then roofed it... saying he had to save up to finish building the house itself... Only payed property tax on a "basement"... That was 30 years ago, and I bet it's still in the same shape, haha!
     
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  38. Cigarlover

    Cigarlover Gold Member Gold Chaser

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    I've contemplated asking the town to lower my taxes. Of course they will say no. At that point tear the house down and live in a teepee or a heated greenhouse. There are no building codes here so you can live in whatever you want.
     
  39. mtnman

    mtnman Gold Member Gold Chaser Site Supporter ++

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    I did that last year. I sold the inventory of my Antique Store but I still live in the building. I went to the Appraisers office and talked to Kay who after 30 years of being elected County Appraiser is retiring. We've been on a first name bases for 20 years. I told her I sold my inventory and locked the door. She lowered my taxes from the commercial rate to residential rate saved $500 per year. Then I took a letter from Kay to the Electric CO OP and showed them I'm now residential and they gave me the residential electric rate. Another $45 a month saved. The good ol boys...
     
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  40. Mujahideen

    Mujahideen Black Member Midas Member

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    I agree.

    I think basic reading and math should be taught on the public dime. That's it. No lunch, nothing.

    Then if you want a real education, society should come up with an answer.
     
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