Let’s face it, California’s budget is a mess.
It’s revenues are mostly from income, which means that in bad times a vicious cycle develops (layoffs->lower tax revenue->government layoffs->reduced consumption->layoffs->etc).
It’s expenses are locked in by voter initiatives. Now, as we know, California has the smartest people in the world – and that’s why voters pass propositions that result in situations where schools are required to have after school programs like teaching juggling and sushi rolling, while cutting teachers for basic programs. Innovative!
But there’s hope. Because California, especially the Bay Area, has the smartest people in the world, there’s a lot of innovation. Like the highly innovative Prop 13 – which enables companies to pay less property taxes than some homeowners, and enables some homeowners to pay 1/10 the property taxes than their neighbors. Coming up with a tax scheme that only impacts families in the future and immigrants to the state, while creating a landed-class, is definitely the kind of out of the box thinking that the state is famous for.
So now, let me share with you this fantastic proposed solution to California’s budget woes from the Mercury News’ message forums:
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 9:32 a.m. PST — Why don’t they just start taxing renters?
Renters are using the same services as homeowners, so why don’t they just pass a renter’s tax? Maybe that would get a lot of the lazy people off their butts and get them to buy a house and really be a part of their community – rather than just a transient drain on their neighborhood until they move on to some other short-term situation. There are so many renters out there that there must be a way to monetize them. Maybe pass a residency tax that affects everyone, but if you’re already paying property tax, you get exempted from the new residency tax. Then, force landlords to get a SSN from all renters and make sure the IRS has their address – just to make sure that the illegals don’t get away without contributing to their society the way homeowners have been doing for years.
Oh my god! This is an even better idea than the tuition tax, and other taxes on children, floated on this site earlier! Why aren’t we taxing lazy renters?
But wait, there’s more!
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 6:55 p.m. PST — Stay in school, then
Take a walk through most communities that are rental-majorities. Sure the majority of renters would love to participate in ownership but *news flash* they’re uneducated or undereducated for this region. Maybe if they started applying themselves and showing some initiative, then they’d start making the kind of money it takes to own something. Also, *news flash* if you can’t afford a house in this market and you want one, you’re definitely in the wrong place. Move to the hills of Tennessee or something. Houses here are afforable now, and available to anyone who has a good education and is willing to invest in a long-term future and not live month-to-month.
Is it really a privilege to own property? Didn’t the homeowners pay taxes on the money that they earned to buy that property (think double-taxation)? Aren’t most of them under water on their mortgages (you don’t need to think about that one)? Doesn’t it take money to maintain that property to what the community and renters deem appropriate levels (think code enforcement)? Don’t homeowners need to maintain insurance in case some dumb_ss falls on their doorstep (think lawyers)? Maybe with your logic, there should be a tax placed on getting sick – because that’s about as much of a privilege as what you’re alluding to. No, ownership is a right if you have the initiative and guts to do it – and nobody should tax a right.
Renting is a privilege more than ownership. Renters use up a huge chunk of community services and they don’t pay squat for it – and then they get to deduct a portion of their taxes because the landlord already paid property taxes that they’re benefitting from. That’s just stupid.
Seriously. Mountain View’s a great example – it’s very affordable now, yet 50%+ plus of the population still rents. Those people should be deported!
But wait, there’s more!
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 6:40 p.m. PST — HomeyDogg doesn’t even know what clue means
First of all, I’m not a ‘sir’, but I suppose a predjudiced person such as yourself might assume I’m a ‘sir’ because I made what you feel are good arguments. I shudder to think what you would have called me if I had made no sense.
Just because you are a renter, and probably paying less in rent than the property owner is paying in property taxes for your little unit, doesn’t mean it’s right or fair. Watch the news – most property owners are completely screwed in this economy and the renters are reaping all the rewards of their hard-earned investment. The property owner is just trying to make ends meet and usually being taken advantage of by the deadbeat renters out there who could care less what happens to their community because they’ll just be moving out once they miss enough rent payments, do enough damage to burn through their security deposit, or have too many bill collectors or bounty hunters stalking them at their residence. Grow up.
Indeed. Did you know that in the California Constitution it guarantees that landlords will have profits? Oh wait… it doesn’t? WE NEED A PROPOSITION FOR THAT, STAT!
(BTW, most major landlords have their tax rates set in 1978… so… uh…)
But wait, there’s more!
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 10:12 a.m. PST — I don’t think that’s
I don’t think that’s completely true – I know of a lot of landlords that had their property taxes go up year-over-year yet they had to reduce rents because of the poor economy. If their taxes went up, yet the renters are paying less, then something that was ‘factored in’ all of a sudden got ‘factored out’. Since most rental real estate is a money losing proposition, and rents are still a heck of a lot lower than the relative cost of ownership, renters are getting a great deal. They should be taxed to help ‘spread the wealth’ and pay their fair share of the services they’re using. Everyone knows that renters have more police calls per capita than homeowners, and crime rat
es are higher in predominantly renter-heavy neighborhoods than owner-occupied neighborhoods, so why not tax them to pay for the services they’re using? Homeowners have been paying huge amount of tax and carrying the burden of public services forever – yet many of those services go to people who don’t own a home and pay property taxes. Why is that fair? I say tax them and the problem will be solved.
Also, if they’re getting a ‘renter’s credit’ then how is that fair? Get rid of the renter’s credit and make them pay their fair share.
Finally – this gets to the heart of how we can solve California’s budget woes: tax the poor.
If we tax the rich, they’ll leave! Local stores like French Laundry will layoff thousands. But if we tax the poor, they’ll leave! And then we won’t have poor people to support, or to look at!
Uh oh… there’s a dissenting view on the site:
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 10:25 a.m. PST — Sick of Prop 13!
My neighbors bought their house 30 years ago during a time when home values were more in line with salaries. Now, they are only paying $1700 a year in taxes receiving a pention and sucking from Social Security that I may never see! How are they contributing to our schools and other programs? I pay close to $20,000 a year in my property tax and I live right next door with a similar house. How is that fair? They are taking from our community and giving nothing back! When are we going to change Prop 13 so we can STOP taking from our children? What is wrong with CA? STOP prop 13!!! Even if we only increased their taxes by 3% this state would be in a better situation!
Three words: Socialism Loving Nazi.
It gets worse…
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 3:17 p.m. PST — And another thing on Prop 13
Thank you “your daddy” and shame on you Fat Granny for making such an uneducated comment about “rich yuppies” paying too much for homes! That is the most rediculous thing I have heard! We are living here because we are entrepreneuers and if it weren’t for us, you wouldn’t have some of the programs that we do! Also, as “your daddy” stated, why can’t I live in the area I grew up? I want my kids to grow up in a nice area so I had to pay this price! Do you realize Fat Granny and all you other people who are for prop 13 that in 1978, before prop 13 we had a surplus! Since then, we have had to cut public services, raise other taxes (CA sales tax is amoungst the highest in the nation!), drop school funding (we went from #5 in the nation to #40 in 1985 and is still dropping), road maintenance is down and because you empty nesters wont move we now have ugly tract homes covering our east foothills to make room for new homebuyers! You see… property taxes are how we pay for things where we live. Because of Prop 13 limited the sales tax to 1% of the assessed value of each property; and limited annual increases in assessed values to the lesser of 2% or the increase in the cost of living for the year, with the exception that upon the sale of a property, the assessment would be updated to the transaction price. The effects of this have been a huge impact on the well-being of Californians. If you can’t understand what I am saying, let me explain… THAT CAUSED HOUSE PRICES TO SOAR! Not rich yuppies paying too much for homes.
Even Warren Buffett commented on the iniquities and inequities of this system and pointed out how he bought a home in CA in the early 70′s with a current market value of $4M and was only paying $2,200 a year in taxes but bought another home in that same neighborhood for half the value in the mid 90′s and was paying $14,000 a year. His point you ask? The tax rate on the second house — same neighborhood, same owner, same ability to pay — is roughly 10 times the rate on the first house. The emphasis is on “the same ability to pay”!!
This might be too hard for you to understand Fat Granny so maybe you should just go eat a dougnut!
This Socialism Loving Nazi is using facts as if they’re the truth. And he has typos.
Everyone knows that facts come from the gut. And only arguments with typos are valid.
Let’s call him on it:
Tuesday, 2/02/2010 – 7:32 p.m. PST — Are you really an entrepreneuer?
“Entrepreneuers” like you should be ashamed of yourself – and I hope your endeavors don’t include anything related to proper spelling, or we’ll all be in a “rediculous” situation, at least those “amoungst” us who have anything to do with what your endeavors produce. Maybe you own a “dougnut” shop and it just doesn’t matter…
Maybe you are a rich yuppie like you portend in your writing – and studies have clearly shown that most rich yuppies are stupid, so your spelling might therefore be part of your genetic disability. In that case I’m sorry for pointing it out. Or, maybe you just got outgrown by this area and you’re so mad that you can’t keep up with it that your brain has stopped working.
BOOYAH. You got owned! Studies show that young people are stupid.
It’s clear what the next steps are:
1. California needs to pass a proposition to tax renters and to guarantee that landlords will have increasing profits every year.
2. California needs to pass a proposition to tax poor people. Let’s drive’em out of the state for good.
3. California needs to pass a proposition to limit voting to people who own houses and are 55 years old+,
Are you with this plan? Or are you with the terrorists?