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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 13, 2013 11:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Ginny Burdick, victim. The next post in this blog is Pope hype is so 1950's. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Save the envelope legend

When the anti-tax movement took Oregon by storm several decades ago, a bunch of things happened. Property taxes were subjected to constitutional limits that have kept a lot of people from being taxed out of their homes. Without Measure 5, can you imagine how badly the City of Portland would be beating up homeowners these days?

Another thing that happened was that the practice of slipping tax increases onto the ballot during obscure special elections, when few voters pay attention, was curbed. Nowadays when the ballots are mailed out in elections that contain tax increase measures, that fact has to be noted right on the envelope. It's great.

But not if you're the government employee unions, of course. To them, transparency is terrible. It hinders their ability to extract more and more from taxpayers for private pensions, fat cat health care benefits, and other goodies. And so they've got a movement afoot in Salem to get rid of the warning on the ballot envelopes. Let's hope they fail miserably, and that the politicians who are carrying their water on this issue get tossed next time around.

A lot of the anti-tax movement is mean-spirited, but it's done much more good than harm. Meanwhile, the way the government employee unions behave is almost enough to turn us into a Republican. Almost.

Comments (21)

Two thoughts on that:

1. If they're going to print warnings on the ballot, they should print warnings for anti-schools measures as well. "Warning: Ballot Measure 12 will eliminate 350 teaching positions!" and so forth.

2. It's really spectacularly easy to find out what's on the ballot. Should take the average person no more than 5 minutes to figure out what the measures will do. The state should not be in the business of providing special information to one group of people who will be motivated to vote in a particular way.

Jack, there's no doubt that Measures 5 and 50 have controlled property taxes. But I have to say that in the decade or so that I wrote about taxes, I invited Don McIntire and Bill Sizemore many times to find me someone taxed out of their home, and they never could, not even one.

Jim. What was your definition of "being taxed out of your home?"

Did you want an example of someone who was forclosed upon for non-payment of property taxes? A homeowner with any sense would sell and move before it got to that.

If someone decided to leave their taxing district or downsize within it I think they would qualify as being "taxed out of their home." There were plenty of people like that before the property tax limits started kicking in twenty-some years ago.

In the last few years, I have run across at least a half dozen people who listed the Multnomah Co. I-Tax as the reason they finally left Portland.

The insatiable local appetite for taxes, fees & meddling in daily activities is one reason I am in Reno looking at houses RIGHT NOW.

I still pay my $ 300/mo property taxes on my Portland home (more than the initial mortgage payments), but a similar home in Reno would pay $ 800/year in taxes.

NO, I HAVE NOT YET BEEN PROPERTY TAXED out of my home. But taxes are one BIG reason I cannot afford to live there anymore.

And I don't much care to pay for the surplus government employees or that damn bridge, either.

I wonder how many people are now making decisions to leave if that bridge with light rail gets built?

I liked ltjd description:The insatiable local appetite for taxes, fees & meddling in daily activities is. . . .

Meddling alright. There may be many more leaving the way they are going, yet they keep telling us millions more are coming. What a joke! Are there really millions more that want this kind of inept/corrupt scene and control over their lives? What happens in the Pearl and other tax abated abodes when the date expires?

High property taxes are the one reason we are considering moving to a smaller home, maybe in a different state. Despite Measure 5 our property taxes keep going up while our income keeps going down.

fat cat health care benefits

FAT CAT?

Decent health care is a good thing that every citizen should have.

And it's our blood sucking insurance middlemen that have made that unaffordable not the unions.

find me someone taxed out of their home

If it weren't for Measure 5, you'd have thousands to choose from today. Just like at the thievery that the City of Portland is pulling off at every turn. Next, a city gas tax!

FAT CAT?

Yes, totally free medical care for life is over the top. Way over.

The preferred liberal tax rate is 100%. The preferred government employee benefit package is 100%.

Any questions?

If they're going to print warnings on the ballot, they should print warnings for anti-schools measures as well. "Warning: Ballot Measure 12 will eliminate 350 teaching positions!" and so forth.

Actually, no. The voters of the state have made quite clear that they think tax increases merit special attention. And if the clowns in Salem change it, there will be another initiative and the same result. Leave the legend alone.

"If it weren't for Measure 5, you'd have thousands to choose from today. Just like at the thievery that the City of Portland is pulling off at every turn. Next, a city gas tax!"

Actually, there IS a Portland city gas tax. That's why gas is so much more expensive in the city limits than in other parts of the Metro area.

"Did you want an example of someone who was foreclosed upon for non-payment of property taxes? A homeowner with any sense would sell and move before it got to that."

Only if they're able to find a buyer for the house. If they can't, then yes, the taxing authority could take the house, but it's a pretty long process.

"If someone decided to leave their taxing district or downsize within it I think they would qualify as being "taxed out of their home." There were plenty of people like that before the property tax limits started kicking in twenty-some years ago.

In the last few years, I have run across at least a half dozen people who listed the Multnomah Co. I-Tax as the reason they finally left Portland."

You know Pancho, I seem to recall shortly after the I-tax was passed, suddenly there were a WHOLE lot of houses available for sale in Portland. And housing values in Washington and Clackamas Counties were going up thanks to increased demand...

No matter how much money the schools receive, it will never be enough.

Likewise, at the comp plan meetings, the City of Portland makes the statement wages in Portland have not kept up with inflation thereby increasing the cost of living for most residents. What hasn’t been admitted to is that wages have not kept up with tax and fee increases assessed in the City of Portland, and that social engineering is one of the one driving factors for those tax and fee increases.

I sold my house and left the City of Portland, largely over property taxes. The taxes in my current town are quite a bit lower. So are the other fees and utilities.

So you might say that the City property-taxed me out of my house, and out of the City altogether. There were other reasons, but this was the biggie.

Jack wrote: Meanwhile, the way the government employee unions behave is almost enough to turn us into a Republican. Almost.

Vote however you like; but, you won't be ready for recovery until you move out of Portland. It really takes the edge off. Begin again, off-City.

Once you get there, it's okay to be a Conservative Democrat, or a Liberal Republican, or what have you. Believe it or not, we really do value the individual, with all of their complexities. Also, your vote might count once in a while.

Do join us. The State has problems, but we can push back. You would be welcome.

jimmayer, let me add to the examples of "taxed out of their homes".

A sweet senior lady had a 1896 house her husbands parents built. She lost her husband, then her brother-in-law who lived with her to help pay her property tax died. She only had social security, a few possessions she sold off to help pay for the unexpected. Then she got on medicaid and a few other programs. But she still struggled to make it as her property taxes went up progressively and she needed to sell.

Then M5 passed, helping her for several years to hang on with the 3% property tax increase limit. That kept her honor and a home she had known since childhood. After many increases in other CoP tax/fees/service increases and new ones they implemented and even with the 3% limit she was finally "forced" to sell.

This to me, is how citizens are "taxed out of their home". In the M5 case, it helps delay it.

Don McIntire knew of many of these same stories. When you asked your question, I think he, in his mind, just rolled his eyes with your uninsightful question that you should have been able to answer yourself. Don had the moxie to be polite.

I consider rising utility costs another way people are being "taxed" out of their homes. Didn't Gresham just declare they were going to raise water rates as a tax on residents? My brother-in-law and his wife are looking to downsize now that their kids are grown, but they are looking at WA County to get rid of high taxes (and political craziness) in Portland. People of means have choices - but maybe these are the folks Portland would rather do without anyway - to make things more equitable after all.

And I agree about putting notices on envelopes when there are measures affecting one's property taxes. It's still the only way we have to vote to tax ourselves as so many of the other taxes and fee charges are now being levied by others. How did that happen? Time for another revolt. Do we still have something close to "consent by the governed" anymore? Maybe in Clakistan..... ?

I'm not saying there were no cases of people who felt compelled to sell their homes because of the high cost of living in Portland, including high property taxes. There may have even been more direct cases of people "forced out of their homes" by property taxes. What I'm saying is that the leaders of the political movement to limit property taxes made that claim as a center piece of their argument, and had an obligation to back it up with facts. They never could. And I doubt Don McIntire was too polite to mention it. I never found Don the least bit shy in expressing his opinion about something I wrote, or anything else for that matter.

Jimmayer, what more can I say, or others. Do you want me to give the name and address of the person and her full financial statement to show you that raising her property taxes 12% in one year on a fixed income gave her only one choice-move, die? The point has been made but you are missing it.

While it may be difficult to cite actual examples of people who were "taxed out of their homes", it is certainly true that fixed income people in the seventies and eighties had a real concern that they might be taxed out of their homes. At the rate property taxes were increasing, it was a certainty.

The indisputable fact is government can never have enough money and the government class is the only class that continues to prosper without sacrifice. Private sector employees and business owners are hurting. This is undeniable. Wages are not rising. Profits (for non-national, small business) are diminishing. The left somehow twists that into some turn-of-the-century battle of the working man against "the man". But the fact is, it is those who provide tax revenue against those who consume tax revenue.

Pers. Tri-Met. The list goes on ad-nauseum. With a very few exceptions, the only unions that wield power in this century are the public employee unions. They are supported by everyone else.

How many of you, who do not have government jobs, have received cost of living increases in the last four years?

Very few, I would wager.

And mandating benefits, or a "living" minumum wage, or any other knee-jerk liberal solution only exacerbates the problem.

I have signed the front of paychecks since 1983. I have provided good jobs, with benefits, to my employees in all that time.

My salary is currently 45% of what it was five years ago. I did that to prevent laying off employees for whom I care deeply.

How many government sector managers are getting by now with a 55% pay cut?



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