Thursday, February 2, 2012

defining poor….

I just read a post on Facebook opposing the sunsetting of the Homestead Tax Credit as something that would unfairly target seniors and poor people. 

Now, I might not have all the requisite intelligence to have a discussion regarding this.  In fact, I was called “out of touch”.  But, here is my argument. 

Poor people don’t own homes.  By definition, if they owned their home, they have an asset that makes them unpoor.  It’s something that they can transfer for money.

Now, I understand that having a home can make you poorer than you want to be, and it might be necessary to relieve yourself of that “asset” and get into something your income will allow you to afford.

But, my sense is that some people believe we somehow “owe” it to people to keep their assets when they go into retirement, that we somehow owe it to them when there are alternatives, that they have a right to not pay taxes simply by turning a page on the calendar.

I get that it sucks when you’re forced out of your home when you can’t afford it.  It happens all the time, often to people with families and incomes that are much lower than those with Social Security benefits.

Here is an idea that I could support.  Get your house appraised.  If you can’t afford the taxes, the government could set up a program that allows you to live in your home as long as there is a positive balance on the ledger.  Once you pass on, or move on, the government gets a lien against the estate and gets the taxes to which it is entitled.  That’s an idea I could live with.

1 comment:

  1. Our town has such in place for ONE elderly couple in town. The land is an a conservation easement and there were many opponents to this idea. As this was being discussed, the media picked it up and ran with it as they were elderly and owed the town for five years of back taxes ( our rate is roughly 32% per thousand, and 110% evaluation). Be thankful you don't live in NH. It is now 15 yrs later, and the couple's health is failing and their needs are being met by town welfare. Town welfare is a loan, not a "gift" and will not be repaid putting a burden on our very small town. Many factors to consider if such was implemented.