Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My home is my castle and I need a wider moat because government is scaling the walls.

Increasing burdens of taxation and dramatic expansion in regulation have become the most common tool of government to restrict, and in some cases eliminate, our Constitutional Rights to Liberty and Private Property. More recently, governments have expanded into areas of storm water and solid waste regulation and instituted fees [read taxes] as the means to restrict those rights. Most egregiously, these fees are levied via our property tax bill thus creating a situation that, at the extreme, may result in the forcible taking of one’s home and property.

Some politicians will tell you they’ve never raised taxes, yet these same politicians instituted a new “fee” system that resulted in a single-year, non-deductible 15% increase in the average Snellville property tax bill [see illustrative tax bill below]. Additionally, by including the non-deductible fee, without explanation, on the property tax bill, they have increased the possibility of the filing of thousands of incorrect income tax returns – an IRS auditor’s dream – that, although rarely, may result in significant fines and forfeitures. Further, they did so without consideration of the potential impact to your mortgage payment and escrow account.

Some of these same politicians claim to be defenders of your private property rights, yet by including these new regulatory fees on your property tax bill they have, in actuality, expanded the ability of the government to seize your home and property. Again, at the extreme, should you own your home free and clear, yet fail to make full payment – including amounts for disputed storm water and/or solid waste services – the local Tax Commissioner will consider your entire property tax bill delinquent and subject to foreclosure, forfeiture, and forcible government taking.

That’s why we need to build a wider moat around our castles. While I favor a wholesale and comprehensive review of all taxes in Georgia, in the meantime, I propose that property taxes and only property taxes be included on my property tax bill. Radical, I know, but, if government is to attempt to storm my castle, at least attack during the light of day, rather than tunneling under in the cover of darkness by attaching non-tax fees to my tax bill.

Click to view a 2009 Snellville Property Tax bill

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