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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 21, 2007 2:58 AM. The previous post in this blog was Chapter (11) and verse. The next post in this blog is The times they are a-changin'. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wonder how Bean is voting on the port tax

It's an election day up in the 'Couv.

Comments (28)

Bean is a renter, renters all vote yes, ride the backs of home owners.

Voting could be tough.

Bean is a renter, renters all vote yes, ride the backs of home owners.

Yes I am, and yes I will. The port is going great guns and needs to expand now. They're taking business away from Portland daily. It's not like we're throwing money down another black hole. This expansion will bring good high paying jobs to an area that could use them. Between the revamped rail and the new bridge, in a few years the Port of Vancouver will be in a tremendous position to dominate the area. Like the nickel gas tax, this one is needed and will do tremendous things.

Or Bean is smart enough to realize that now is NOT the time to buy a home.

Bean is a renter, renters all vote yes, ride the backs of home owners.

That is sort of short sited of renters, as who do you think ultimately pays the property tax on rental property? The owner just passes the costs on to the renters.

Renters can pick up and move in 30 Days, they can shop for lower rents, little tougher for home owners.

The flip has flopped, should we pitty the poor landlords now forced into that status. Rents are decreasing and many of those once killah investments are now losers. Oops. While the real estate investment market fluctuates, we can all count on property tax increases remaining stable. Hey, at least this use of a significant amount of riverfront should produce jobs and an economic return through increased shipping. Compare that economic impact to the condos which would otherwise occupy that riverfront. Personally, I would rather see my taxes used for public projects than used to line the fat wallets of private developers.

...little tougher for home owners.

Those poor poor down-on-their-luck homeowners with their double-digit increases in their home values. They've spent the five years leveraging their homes to buy boats and beach houses while crying poor when it comes time to cough up for schools and infrastructure. Cry me a river.

Whoa Chris. That's rather a sweeping generalization. I've been in my home now for twelve years. No boat. No beach house. The only thing I levered was some college tuition for my son.

And I voted yes on the childrens initiative, the library bond, the parks levy and would have voted yes for a school levy if it had come up.

...and would have voted yes for a school levy if it had come up.

I thought you weren't running...

Ha! Good one! And no, I'm not running, unless I lost my sanity again.

Chris's point about fortunate homeowners is well-taken. Those of us who've owned our homes in Portland for more than a few years, and therefore are unlikely to have spent too much to acquire them, are enjoying a pretty great deal: skyrocketing values and severely limited property tax increases. I know that everyone living in Portland isn't in this position, but I suspect a majority is--which makes me suspicious of anti-tax sentiments in these parts.

"Skyrocketing values" don't do you that much good when all the property in the vicinity is skyrocketing. You can't move up to better housing anywhere near where you are now. You can die and leave the place to the kids, but when they sell it they can't afford to live any place better, either. Yeah, you can sell your place and go rent, or borrow against the new value, but big deal. Neither of those is very attractive. For one thing, you have to pay loans back, with interest.

...which makes me suspicious of anti-tax sentiments in these parts.

Oh, so THAT'S what makes you suspicious...

Yeah, sure.

Okay, Jack, I largely agree with you about the limited benefits of increasing home values, and have made pretty much the same point to some of my friends who've expressed envy at my having bought a house in Portland over a decade ago.

But still, most people would much rather have a house that increases in value than stays flat or decreases--as happens in other parts of the country and has happened here in the past. For one thing, we live in a very mobile society, and it's much better for a homeowner to move from a high-value housing market to a low-value one than the other way around.

My more general point is that homeowners in Portland have little cause to complain about excessive property taxes. All home property tax bills I'm aware of, including my own, peg value for tax purposes far below real market value.

"Oh, so THAT'S what makes you suspicious...

Yeah, sure."

I don't understand what you're implying, rr. But from my familiarity with your comments in general, I can safely assume that whatever you're thinking comes from your interest only in your personal welfare and from your belief--that you and other Reagan acolytes try to pass off as political principle--that selfishness and greed are good.

So there's really no need to explain yourself--we've heard it many times before.

we live in a very mobile society, and it's much better for a homeowner to move from a high-value housing market to a low-value one than the other way around.

Agreed, but unless you're getting ready to move to some place like Spokane (which few Portlanders are), this does you no good.

All home property tax bills I'm aware of, including my own, peg value for tax purposes far below real market value.

The difference is, property taxes aren't just on paper. You pay them in cash, out of income, every year. People's income around here has not risen at anywhere near the rate of inflation on the value of their homes, and so without an artificial cap on property tax values, people would either have to borrow against the home to pay the taxes or take a cut in their standard of living.

ride the backs of home owners

Baloney. Landlords pass the taxes on to the tenants in rent.

disposable diaper tax, now that is fair.

ride the backs of home owners

Baloney. Landlords pass the taxes on to the tenants in rent.

Never mind that we renters miss out on all of that sweet, sweet mortgage deduction action, too.

Just who is riding the backs of whom?

(Says the guy who's looking to get in on that massive subsidy... er, "deduction"... real soon!)

The proposal was defeated badly. Something likje 25% yes 75% no.

Question for Jack. What percentage of tax payers take the home mortgage interest deduction?

Thanks,
MW

Don't know off the top of my head. The latest figures I do have handy show that the deduction reduces federal income tax receipts by $87.7 billion this year. Billion with a "b."

I don't understand what you're implying, rr.

Well, I can see that implications aren't blunt enough to express your view of those with whom you disagree: selfish, greedy, deceptive, unprincipled, idol-worshipping, anti-tax (that's not really an insult on a par with the others, though)...

...and did I mention selfish?

My implication, just for fun, was that you were ...suspicious of anti-tax sentiments in these parts. long before your attempt to justify it by projecting your personal angst about housing values on the majority of Portlanders. Or am I incorrect there?

"My implication, just for fun, was that you were ...suspicious of anti-tax sentiments in these parts long before your attempt to justify it by projecting your personal angst about housing values on the majority of Portlanders. Or am I incorrect there?"

I'm suspicious of anti-tax sentiments at the state and local level in Oregon because, basically, I think the average citizen gets a good return on his or her tax payments: public schools, parks, police protection, incarceration of criminals, mental-health and child-protection services, a state judicial system, transportation, etc. Some of these services are inadequate, but the inadequacy argues for more taxation, not less. And when I say that the average citizen gets an especially good deal, I do mean average--the wealthy can purchase for themselves some of the things that average people can only obtain if the state provides them, after collecting and pooling tax dollars. It's tempting, easy and widely acceptable to complain about excessive taxes, but I don't think those complaints hold up very well under scrutiny, when we're talking about state and local taxation. (Federal taxes are another story--at least for those of us who see the federal government's current military ventures as immoral and financially ruinous.)

My particular point about property taxes in the Portland area is that most homeowners are getting a good deal with respect to those taxes, in that real market values have been rising at a much faster rate than taxes on property. I grant that increasing home values aren't beneficial to homeowners except in certain circumstances--but on the other hand, there's little downside (for homeowners) to the rising values, since we Portland homeownners have been paying taxes on only a small portion of the recent increases in value.

Finally, among the fair number of things about which I have angst, housing value isn't one. I am content with my house's value. So I don't think I was doing any angst-projecting.


According to the latest data I could find on the IRS web site, in 2005 there were a little over 38 1/2 million returns filed with some home mortgage interest deduction, for a total in deductions of almost $384 billion (which seems roughly in line with Jack's $87.7 billion in actual tax receipt offset, given effective marginal rates).

That's out of almost 48 million returns with itemized deductions -- meaning that a little more than 80% of itemized returns include mortgage interest deductions.

However, there were a total of more than 134 million individual returns filed in the same year.

Which means that only about 35% of all returns itemize deductions, and only about 29% (just under) claim a mortgage interest deduction.

For what it's worth...

Jack and David Wright thanks and it is worth a lot in terms of discussing the issue. My books are in storage because of a move two years ago, but I have one on the income tax that if I recall correctly is titled "The Decline and Fall of the Income Tax" by someone from Yale whom I recall to be named Glazer. In it he comments on a study from a couple of econ people from the Brooking Inst. who suggested that the repeal of the mortgage deduction would result in a decline in home values by about 35%. If correct it suggest that a lot of people are paying a high price for a benefit that only a few can or are using.

MW

So I don't think I was doing any angst-projecting.

Of course you don't.

I'll infer that you don't think you were engaging in stereotyping and name-calling, either.

Odd how when you're with like-minded folks, the rules don't apply.

I have one on the income tax that if I recall correctly is titled "The Decline and Fall of the Income Tax" by someone from Yale whom I recall to be named Glazer.

The author is Michael Graetz.

a lot of people are paying a high price for a benefit that only a few can or are using.

There's no question that owner-occupied housing is heavily subsidized by the tax code as compared to renting. But to say that "only a few" are using the benefit is mistaken.

That particular sacred cow will persist as long as there is an income tax. If it were repealed, yes, housing prices would fall, but it's like speculating about whether, if you had a brother, he would like cheese.

Jack thanks for the info.

MW


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