My rant/vent for today

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by 65284, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 17, 2003
    Taxes, we are retired and have a limited income, which I think should be for our comfort and enjoyment. Taxes are just killing us, especially school taxes. Our tax bill last year was over $1900.00 the school portion of that was in excess of $1200.00, and that is on 30 acres, a modest home a small, old barn and a few small outbuildings. Assessments and/or levies are raised every year they, say they are growing and need more money. They have a new school, only 3 years old, and the biggest expense for the whole structure was for the gym, what extravagant BS. There is a proposition on the April ballot for yet another levy increase. Could there possibly be a more inequitable way to finance schools than property taxes? We had one child that went through this school system almost 40 years ago, but we get soaked (robbed) year after year after year. Folks that don’t own a house get away practically free. I know, I checked, our county has all property tax info. on line and available to anyone. Not to bash anyone because they live in a trailer, but, I used deliver to a large trailer court in town and the place is swamped with kids, seems like 3 or 4 in every trailer. I checked the tax records and these people pay next to nothing, most in the $300.00 range. Their overproduction is already subsidized via income tax deductions, and getting gouged to school their offspring is adding injury to insult. I think a small local sales tax increase and a per head tax on the parents for every child enrolled in this district would be much fairer. It may come my to having to find a part time job just to pay the damned taxes, which of course would mean paying more income taxes. Am I way out of line here? Am I wrong for resenting the fact that we are unable to do some of the things we would like to do because of this huge tax burden? Moving is out of the question, my family has lived in this area for over 200 years and our grandchildren are here. And I will save someone the trouble of asking, our grandchildren do not attend the public school.
  2. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Isn't the "free" public school system great? ;)
    It doesn't seem fair that somebody who has no kids and lives in a $90,000.00 house pays the same as someone who has 10 kids and lives in a $90,000.00 house.
    That is almost as bad as the "working" tax we have here. If you make $10,000.00 or less you only pay like $30.00. Any income of $10,001.00 and up end up paying $200.00 and some. How is that fair that the person that makes $10,001.00 pays the same as the person who makes $100,000.00!?! :eek:
    Aren't taxes great?!? :no:

  3. thomas49

    thomas49 Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    If there is such a thing as a fair tax this may be close. Check out this web site Tom
  4. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    I have no idea where you live, since your profile doesn't state that, but make sure you are getting any exemptions that might be coming to you. Some states have agricultural use exemptions, some have homestead exemptions, and some have over 65 exemptions. Then, make sure they have your assessed value correct, or fight them tooth and nail if they are too high. Educate yourself on these issues and don't give up.

    Unfortunately, property taxes or ad valorem taxes are based on the value of the property. Should be fair market value but your area might be different. Not fair, but in general, income taxes are not fair either. Why should I pay $25,000 a year to Uncle Sam to live here, when my next door neighbor pays $3,000? Because the income tax is based on your income, and ad valorem means according to value. If you think that you are being taxed or assessed unfairly, and if you feel that you can't fight this yourself, there are paid tax consultants out there that will fight them based upon a contingent fee in most states. Good luck.
  5. RAC

    RAC Guest

    That's ALL you pay? Lots of people would be happy with that amount! (I know what you're saying, though, especially since you've lived in the area a long time). Don't go to the SF Bay area, you'll drop dead of a heart attack on the spot when you see their taxes, lol.

    Renters also pay property taxes, but indirectly through their rent (which some owners can actually raise to cover higher taxes or not, depending upon, among other things, if the property is financed or owned free and clear, and what the market will bear in the way of rent for a particular property). Most rental properties are mortgaged, and many are lucky to get the mortgage payment out of the rent, let alone taxes and other expenses. However, I think most renters are completely ignorant of the fact that they will eventually see higher rents if the taxes go up, and unfortunately vote for every tax coming down the pipe, yet are incredulous when their rents are raised--after all, like everything else, it trickles down to the end user....

    What I don't like is how the schools will say, "oh, we're not raising the levy amounts, it's the same as the last time". Well, what they're NOT saying is that they count on your property going up courtesy of the assessor's office, which raises the amount of money the schools get. I think your taxes should be based on what you paid for the property, and the amount should not change until the property changes hands, regardless of what you do to the property. Unless you are actually selling the property at the time, the assessment is at best, an opinion, you may or may not be able to sell for that amount, and until you do, the property is ONLY worth what you paid for it, no more, no less.

    Also, if they could pass a levy with the solemn promise of NO fundraising for anything school-related, and all the regular supplies would be paid for, I might go for it, but no.

    They're looking at a bond for new schools in our area, and it's like, why? Why build new schools to attract more people we don't want to the area....

    I don't know how trailers are counted--don't they fall under the vehicle code in most states unless they are anchored in some way? That might be something to raise at a city council meeting, if people are living there year round.

    I also think that new development does not pay it's way--and they usually charge apartments less than half of what they charge for a house in growth impact fees. I can see a lower price for some things, like road improvements for an apartment complex, but they should pay the same amount as a house as far as school impact fees because children live in apartments too, last time I checked.
  6. Gimpy_Magoo

    Gimpy_Magoo Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    Steve is correct with his question about exemptions.

    I am not retired but am disabled and receive SS just like retirement. I filed with the county and received the last three years refunded to me. My bill went from 1200 year to 400 a year.
    My ma who lived in WA did the same when she reached 65, or was it 62. anyway. she also received her exemptions.

    you should check into it. You wont hear an ad, or read it in the newspaper but I'll bet it's there for the asking.

  7. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Be wary with exemptions and deferrals--read the fine print.

    They're great if you have no one to leave the property to, but if you do, they will have to bring the taxes current, or it will come out of your estate, or the property will be sold to pay for the taxes if you live long enough to defer a good amount.
  8. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

    Aug 25, 2003
    Check to see if your County has a "Senior Property Tax Freeze", taxes are frozen at your assessed rate now, if over 65 and under a certain income level (depends on location). Most cities have this program to help seniors on fixed incomes to keep from losing their homes because they can't pay the ever rising taxes.
  9. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Manitoba, Canada
    I think they ought to do away with school taxes. Period. But then, I homeschool! In Alberta, you receive funding to homeschool, but it doesn't come anywhere NEAR what I pay for the school portion of my property taxes. I'd be quite happy to not pay that portion, give up my funding, and use the difference to homeschool. I'd still be ahead.

  10. cdny4

    cdny4 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    We have a small beef farm-100year old house, can't use the upstairs because a tree fell on it last year, the house now leans out on both sides. Bathtub is held up by 2x4's from the basement. Last time we tried to fill for a "bubble bath" it sank 2". We have three old barns, 100 cattle and 238 acres-40 of which we can't use because the town supervisor took out the culverts to cross the creek.

    The school overspent this year by 2.8 million dollars, so they came through and reassessed all the farms in the town, then some of the single residences. We are now assessed at 800,000-figure that out per acre. Our taxes this year are 38,000 dollars. We made 12,000 last year. The best part is the school cut the ag program- the superintendent makes 140k per year, and he had the nerve to tell us that farming isn't important in our area anymore. We are one of 7 left in our county. Not sure where his son will run his 4 wheeler and snowmobiles when we end up at auction....

    Thank your lucky stars for the tax bill you have- you could be living in Western New York like us. We want to move, but how do you get out from under the bills with so little wiggle room???? We've heard Ohio is nice, heard the same about Nebraska and Western PA. Any suggestions out there?
  11. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Aug 10, 2003
    Alberta, Canada
    How to assess school taxes will remain a difficult issue for years to come in every country. My property taxes are about the same as yours and my parents is higher yet. My father and I were discussing the issue a few years back and he had a much different slant on a pensioner (himself) paying school taxes. He feels that through the course of his life (since the time my sister and I finished school) he has used the services of many professionals that were educated in public schools, doctors, nurses, accountants, agricultural specialists, etc. He looks upon school taxes as the price we all pay to surround ourselves with educated people and it's the educated people that keep keep us from being just another developing nation.
  12. All country

    All country Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2003
    Our local high school has a huge indoor swimming pool, fancy gym. ect. and huge amounts of money are spent on sports.

    They had this brilliant plan to streamline disturbed students into regular classes. Made it impossible for teachers to teach their class because of the problems these students caused. The school system has some really outstanding teachers who can't do their job.

    Too little focus is on actual education in most public schools today.

    We've been homeschooling 9 years now.

    My Husband & I don't have much money at all. We made under $24,000. last year to support a family of 7. Yet we manage to come up with the money to buy our kids school supplies each year. Our school books plus supplies average $325.00 or more per child each year. This doesn't include the outside activities they're involved in. When our children are involved with sports or music we find the way to pay for it. Our children recieve instruction in art, music, dance etc. We recieve no government assistance. We pay our mortgage, taxes, etc.

    Recently my brother asked me how we can afford it. We manage because our children are a priority to us. I personally have never seen the problem with people supporting their own families. I always felt that it was our responsibility to take care of ours. We never have seen how it was justified to take from the rich to give to the poor. Sort of seems to me that it could make it too easy for people to get lazy and give up their desire to reach higher and dream bigger dreams. It's too easy to just hold out their hand. The hardships we endure are often what makes us strong. Maybe by giving so many handouts we are actually harming, making people weaker. I am NOT saying that ALL people receiving assistance are lazy or weak. There are some with true needs and I don't mind helping them.

    Sometimes I resent the amount of taxes we give to a public school system we don't use.
  13. cdny4

    cdny4 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    I don't mind the schools-ours was one of the ten top schools for music in the USA. Teachers don't have it easy, especially since they aren't allowed to control the classroom anymore. What I do mind is when we got this property it was assessed at 164,000- we've made no real updates or additions, and now we're at 800,000.
    We live on less than 10k a year or round abouts. My daughter has everything she needs- I can, and freeze, and thrift store shop. We do "cheap" entertainment when we can. As a family we're ok. We've had really bad and machinery and escaping cows(anyone out there who's ever had to chase a brahma knows what I mean), but it's hard not to feel like we're getting the life sucked out of us.
    Just seems it would be easier if the school taxes came out of income instead of property. Or at least it should be based on the profitability of the farmland we're on. People around here think we're rich because we own land and cows. Actually had a neighbor try to sue us for the noise the weanlings made two years ago-she said it caused migraines, and she hasn't recovered(she hasn't moved either...)
    Every year we're faced with the same thing. We work a little harder, longer day. Think we're going to break a little ray of sunshine, and they raise it up. Two weeks ago we got a letter- 4500 increase. Then the school says that there will only be a 4% increase in May. If we put on 20 more cows we'll break even- with a little longer day, work a little harder...
  14. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    I am sure most of the people raising families in that trailer park would LOVE to be able to afford a home on 30 acres. Unfortunately, that's an impossible dream for most families today, given the economy. :(

    Be thankful for what you have, and that you apparently have the means to pay for it.

    BTW, I am childless and pay more than $5,000 a year in property taxes on the two houses I own. That's a lot when you're making $7.75 an hour plus your spouse's disability. I rent one house, and every time the taxes go up, so does the rent I charge. I agree the tax laws suck (can I say "suck" on here? :D ) but I don't think the answer is to villify poorer families.

    Of course, OTOH the government likes it when we hate the poor, because that distracts us from doing anything about the rich who are getting the tax cuts!
  15. JulieNC

    JulieNC Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    I have so many conflicting feelings about the property tax.

    On the one hand, I resent paying nearly $2000 on 10 acres of land every year. My children homeschool, and our local schools won't let homeschoolers participate in any school activities (extracurricular or otherwise), not even if we agree to pay a fee. The party line is that we've "completely" turned our backs on the schools, so we have no claim to them now. Of course, we pay our taxes like everyone else, so I'm hard-pressed to understand how it is that we have "completely" turned our backs on the school.

    I see a great deal of waste, inflated administrative salaries, and new schools with state of the art facilities.

    On the other hand, programs for the advanced students are being cut (AP classes, no foreign language in the elementary or middle schools, which, of course, is the best age for them to start learning one), fewer shop or vocational classes, etc.

    I know I can control costs for our education, but I also realize that I'm not being paid a teacher's salary and our building overhead is there whether or not we homeschool. Schools, on the other hand, require buildings and teachers . . . however, I think they're too top heavy in terms of administration.

    I don't know that there are any good answers. In the grand scheme of thing, I don't mind supporting public education. I just wish they had their priorities in place and were better stewards of our money.
  16. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    There is a proposal in the PA legislature right now to change funding for schools. Presently we pay a 6% sales tax and it is not on food, clothing and some services. This proposal wants to eliminate the school district portion of property taxes and lower the sales tax to 4% and extend it to all goods and services. This would eliminate our $2300 o the district but not our $600 for the county. They just got a study done that says the rate has to be 4.5% instead of 4%. Their biggest problem is that they are unsure how much income comes form services in PA, or so they say. I don't have a strong feeling either way on this. I do think total funding from Harrisburg is scary. I wonder what thay will do when the Sales tax no longer enough. Will school districts reinstate taxes for extras?? I also think the seniors will be hard pressed to pay the tax on their medical costs and such. Don't think this will actually go thru, but the other proposal is the Governor's and that is to have gambling at racetracks to pay for schools. I don't think this is a good idea either, too iffy on the amounts. I am not a real big consumer, so it appears this deal in the beginning could work in our favor. We would have to spend over $51000 to pay as much in sales tax, more than we make. I can't imagine actually paying less ever!
  17. Buffy in Dallas

    Buffy in Dallas Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    There isn't a whole lot you can do other than sell out and move. Taxes are just going to keep rising until you can't pay and lose the place. Think positive. you can cut the land up into smaller pieces and sell for major bucks. then go buy yourself a really nice place somewhere with much lower taxes and a nicer climate. Its not fair but thats life! We are in dallas and the land prices here are outragous! We are looking at oklahoma for our retirement.
  18. cdny4

    cdny4 Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Just for the record-I don't trudge on the poor. There are no trailer parks where we live. Our assisstant principal is a dairy farmer, and she was told any loud voice of opinion would terminate her position. Same with some others. We have Hitler as a superintendent. We also have 22 teachers who live in the city and commute out here for work. That's fine, but those 22 teachers bring 50 kids to our school(they won't live here, but the school is better than the one where they live). Our budget has never not increased, and enrollment is down 21% over the last five years. Ag class was cut, shop was cut, two foreign languages were cut. There is no special ed program, special needs program.
    I guess my biggest beef is that I have to live within my budget. I can't go to my neighbor and say "you owe me 200 because I said so"- I'd get decked.
    I think we are planning to move, but not sure where to go yet. Assessments here are around 5000 for a house on 1 acre-market value of 90,000.
    As far as staying positive-I try, especially around my other half and our daughter. Something's got to give sometime.
  19. I'm only 38, so not in that boat yet... But I always thought that once the kids graduated, the parents should be exempt. Being generous, I might even be persuaded to have people pay it until they retired. I REALLY don't think seniors ("" "") should have to pay for schools, etc. I also think that if they couldn't abolish the property taxes for older folks entirely, they should give them a much better so-called discount than they do.

    I missed entirely where you live, but here in IL I am on a 1/4 acre lot in a 2bd house, and we are paying close to $2500 a year... Disgusting - especially considering the state of things around here! I don't mind paying (DD is still in school), but I don't even get a library card with it. Really ticks me off when everyone has to pay for things only some are using!

  20. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    Cndy4 - I can't stop thinking about your sitution. I can't believe your tax is $38K a year - how do you do it? How does anyone afford that? Don't they give you some kind of agricultural rate?

    I am so amazed at the superintendant getting paid $140K a year. That just boggles my mind. This is an outrage - why do people put up with it?