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Should Idaho abolish
property taxes and implement a flat sales tax?
simplify...which means keep it simple, stupid."
– Let's pretend for a moment that you want
to tax everybody in Idaho, for example, for a public education system that
you claim costs a billion dollars a year. Just suppose. What is
the best way to collect the money: through a labyrinth of voluminous
property tax assessments and rules on residential and commercial property,
or through a simple flat sales tax rate?
Let's look at the pros and
cons of each, from the taxpayers' -- not the state's -- point of view, shall
Current Property Tax Method
Pros: None. We all hate
1. Must hire tons of tax assessors
and bureaucrats to determine, send out, and collect taxes on property.
High overhead. Complicated. Unfair.
2. Property values rise during
monetary inflation, thus taxing old folks on fixed incomes out of their
paid-off homes. Unfair.
3. Commercial property taxes passed
on as either higher prices for consumers or unemployment if companies can't
pay. Companies don't pay taxes; consumers pay the taxes.
4. Judgment call on assessment of
property. Impossible to implement fairly or equally, which soon
becomes a constitutional issue.
Flat Sales Tax Method (Assumption:
NO taxes on food and NO taxes on Internet sales. Otherwise, no sales
1. Pay as you go. The more you
consume, the more you pay. Control over your own taxes.
2. Old folks can NEVER be taxed out
of their homes.
3. No hidden consumer tax passed on
as commercial property tax expenses.
4. Easy to determine. Simple
math, no judgment calls.
5. Sales tax jumps to 10-15%.
That's good because now consumers can see what it really costs for
government expenditures. This helps taxpayers re-think govt spending
so they can now work on chopping govt expenditures and thus chop their flat
sales tax rate.
Cons: None. Well, Senator Hal
Bunderson (R-Meridian) might cry in his soup since he's Chairman of the
Senate Tax Committee. Actually, he should rejoice.
Conclusions: Idahonians should forget
about trying to rearrange Idaho's current property tax which is a Huge
Labyrinth of Nonsensical Absurdities. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Repeal ALL Idaho property taxes: residential AND commercial (which you
pay anyway through higher prices, dummy). Calculate what you need for
schools and other ridiculous state expenditures, and create a flat sales tax
to cover the approximate costs.
Old folks? Hey, time to
party down, grandma and grandpa. Now you can't ever get taxed out of
your own house.
Next, do the same thing with
the even more stupid and complicated state income tax, both individual and
corporate. (Remember, like sales taxes, corporations don't pay
corporate taxes. You do, since they just pass it along with all their
other expenses.) Dump ALL income taxes and wrap that lost revenue into
a flat sales tax, too. Will the flat sales tax go higher? Yes
but at least you will finally see exactly what govt expenditures really cost
and then you can work on lowering govt expenditures and thus your flat sales
Once again, if we have to tax
ourselves to death, we might as well choose the least stupid method of
taxation -- especially if it helps us finally "see the light" and put a stop
to this tax-and-spend madness. Later we can work on a 100% gold
standard so the tax madness can't ever happen again. -- FM Duck
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