President Ronald Reagan: Government does not tax to get the money it needs; government always finds a need for the money it gets.  Government Voracious for TaxesNo matter how many dollars are collected in taxes, it is never enough for politicians. An immoral tax? What a wide field from which to choose.  Surprise: The worst tax, IMO, is not a federal one. It is local. It is brutal to seniors, THE PROPERTY TAX! What follows reflects the situation in California. However, research indicates the abuse is nationwide. E.g. 
Proposition 13 – Protection? 
Touted as protection for senior citizens, Proposition 13 was enacted in  1978 by voter initiative as an amendment to the California Constitution. It provided that properties be assessed at market value only when sold. The tax was set at 1%. Between changes of ownership, the assessed value can be raised by an inflation rate of no more than 2 percent per year.
 It has been criticized as having…starved schools and local governments of vital revenue….Proposition 13’s critics — public employee unions and their political allies mostly — have yearned for decades to repeal or modify it. [Emphasis added.]
We have previously exposed the rapacious self-dealing of public sector unions.
  Brutal Effect on Senior Citizens
Normally, as people age, income goes down and, correspondingly, so does income tax, But not property tax. It increases as income decreases. 
 When we bought our home more than 30 years ago, there was a sizable property tax, but one which we believed we could handle through our lifetime.  We ignorantly thought Proposition 13 protected us.  We missed the catch: an annual 2% increase if property values rise.  Our property tax is now 60% higher than when we bought; it goes up 2% every year like clockwork, even during periods when values decreased.  Protest at one’s peril.  If one appeals: A fee will be imposed by the county to cover the expense of preparing findings and conclusions…. The estimated fee must be paid prior to the end of the hearing, and any cost for the findings that exceed the initial deposit must be paid before findings are releasedAnd
the appeals board determines the fair market value for the disputed property. Among other things, they can … raise a property’s assessed value [Emphasis added.] Even Worse Than It AppearsWhere else can an owner of any kind of property be taxed on appreciation in value of that property without a taxable event?   And be taxed on that appreciation all over again, year after year after year?  Where else in our tax system does one, who is neither a buyer nor a seller, see taxes go up as income goes down?

The fact is that one cannot utilize the appreciation on one’s home without selling it or going deeper into mortgage debt.   And when one is forced to sell because of the ever increasing property tax, guess what – the selling homeowner is taxed yet again.

Think about it.  If one had the good judgment to purchase a painting for $1,000, and the artist’s worth became widely recognized so that a year later the painting was valued at $10,000, would it be fair for the government to tax that $9000 increase when it remains in one’s possession?  If the painting continues to increase in value, should the government be allowed to tax that same $9000 again and again and tax any additional appreciation?  Should the process be permitted to continue each year until the taxpayer can no longer bear it and sells the painting, paying yet another tax, capital gains on the sale proceeds?   No one would deem that fair.  Yet, that is what is done to one particular asset, the most valuable property people can own, their home.  Right to Own Property Essential to Our ConstitutionA friend questioned whether the foregoing was unique and raised the drivers license as an example of having to pay year after year without having sold the car.  There is a significant difference between a drivers license and home ownership. The Framers of the Constitution recognized that the right to private property was necessary to secure the right of persons.  The Founding Fathers upheld the economic view of property. They believed that private property ownership, as defined under common law, pre-existed government. The state and federal governments were the mere contractual agents of the people, not sovereign lords over them. All rights, not specifically delegated to the government, remained with the people–including the common-law provisions of private property… In brief, private property refers to the rights of owners to use their possessions which are enforceable against all nonowners–even the government. [Emphasis added.]
 James Madison summed it up:
It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot well be separated. The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives to property, when acquired, a right to protection, as a social right.
 That is not the case with driving. Here is a summary published earlier this month:
It is a privilege granted by the State you live in. The State regulates the rules and restrictions for driving. The State can also pull your privilege and deny you the ability to legally drive. [Emphasis added.]  Need to Take the OffensiveFolks have become inured to the pain.  They do not understand how vicious and illogical is the property tax.  We need to hammer home these truths, exposing the insanity of the tax. But not insanity for politicians who use tax dollars to offer freebies to keep themselves in office.—DEFINITELY-NOT-MAGNIFICENT If money is  needed for “starved schools and local governments…’’,  here’s an idea: use the dollars now being given away to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants and their children cost California at least $30.29 billion a year in net costs—$7,352 per alien…For context: given that California’s state budget is $171 billion, this means that illegal immigration would cost 17.7% of this spending (although much of the costs are absorbed locally). [Emphasis in original.] And why not re-direct the money now available for all sorts of folly. In Sacramento, California, …[the city council] approved unanimously to curb violence in the city. The city will be spending $1.5 million on gangsters, paying them not to break the law. can’t make this stuff up, folks. Of course, we all know what is going on. The motivation is the self interest of our political parasites.—THE-TRIUMPH-OF-IGNORANCE Politicians love to buy votes with tax financed goodies. After all, he who robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on Paul’s support.  But what of Peter? Has he no recourse?  And  when Peter is a senior citizen and his home being taken from him, what then? Bills should be introduced in the California legislature reducing the property tax, immediately restoring it to its lowest amount historically for each taxpayer, and thereafter reducing it each year for those over 70 years of age. Introduce the legislation; let the self-styled “compassionate” Left defend this brutality to the elderly. Give the vote-seeking politicians something to worry about.  

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. … The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much​ 

– Ronald Reagan

Dick Coleman

Richard M. Coleman served as National Co-Chair, Lawyers for Reagan-Bush ’84 and really does miss RR. A graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, Dick is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and of the National Caucus of Metropolitan Bar Leaders. A professor on the faculty of Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution for 17 years, he received Pepperdine’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He has hosted TV forums on legal and financial topics and written and spoken extensively on political issues.

© Richard M. Coleman 2018