Thursday July 5, 2007
Thursday June 28, 2007
I don’t get it: over a number of years, property values have shot through the roof, and property taxes have followed. The current tax reforms are intended to roll back some (not all) of the disproportionate increases. So why is everyone in such a crisis mode?
Monday June 18, 2007
The sordid tale of Biscayne Landing. This patch of land between FIU North and Oleta State Park was considered for a zoo, an “international center” with a revolving restaurant atop a tower, an amphitheater, a golf course, and airport . . . well, for most of the 70s it was actually a dump. It was an EPA Superfund site from 1982 to 1999. Now it’s a condo development, last seen promoting itself with ultra-cheesy billboards featuring scantily clad women and silly “too cool for downtown” taglines. Not unsurprisingly, 93 units have been sold, out of a planned 6,000. Also not unsurprisingly, the superfund business is not mentioned on the development’s FAQ. The saddest part is that the city of North Miami gambled with the developers on this, leasing them the land and paying $31 million to clean up the site, hoping for a tax windfall.
Thursday April 19, 2007
Thank you to Jim DeFede for saying what I’m been thinking: property taxes are a good thing. First of all, exchanging property taxes for a increase in sales tax is a horrible shift of the tax burden from the rich to the poor. “Under Rubio’s plan, you might save a couple of thousand dollars, but Rush Limbaugh for instance, will save almost a half million in taxes every year on his Palm Beach home.” That’s a half a million that either gets cut from city budgets (and “disproportionately” is the key word there), or gets paid by people buying diapers.
You know how you did your taxes on Tuesday evening (oh wait, that was me)? Well, remember when you got done with the federal income taxes and you went on to do your state income tax? No: you don’t. That’s because Florida is one of the seven (count ‘em) states without an income tax. “Thank you, Walt Disney World,” my old boss used to say. Thank you Limbaugh, too. Thanks to the homeowners. And don’t worry — us renters have seen our rates go up plenty over the last few years, so it’s not like we’re not paying our share.
You’re squeezed between rising insurance rates and increasing property taxes? Oh, I’m sorry (the latter is because the value of your property has skyrocketed over the last five years, by the way). It turns out that you live in a tropical paradise, to which 400,000 new people move every year. Oh, and we have hurricanes that come and wipe out a neighborhood or two every couple of years. That makes it expensive. You can’t stand the heat? Well, you should have sold your house at the beginning of last year like Critical Miami told you to do, and you’d be sitting on a big pile of cash right now waiting to buy again when prices bottom out (or maybe moving to a nice quiet little town in Colorado).
Or you can trade down from the huge house you can’t afford to a smaller one you can. Then the overall housing prices won’t effect you as much. Look: governments do things. They mostly do things that everyone benefits from, but which individuals would not independently want to spend money on (like educating our kids, for which Florida spends less per child then any other state). We can talk about re-calibrating the rates, but until everyone suddenly decides they want to live in a truly limited-government, libertarian society, I don’t want to hear any more whining. Get out there and mow your lawn.
Thursday March 15, 2007
There’s a plan floating around to swap property taxes for an increase in sales tax. This amounts to a regressive tax — taking money from the poor to give to the rich, because the poor use a higher percentage of their money to purchase stuff and are less likely to own property. Here’s a list of how much the plan would save a few different lobbyists.