You would have though the world was coming to an end. The County Commission, looking at a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that was nowhere near being funded, had for several months flirted with the ideas of a wheel tax and a property tax increase.
The ideas went over about as well as you’d expect, and last week, after listening to various people plead poorness and basically tell them they were evil devils for even thinking of such a thing, the commission wouldn’t even consider a property tax increase of 12 cents, but did vote in a $25 wheel tax increase that didn’t even cut the budget deficit in half.
Yes, nobody likes to pay taxes, but I assume you like roads to drive on and law enforcement to protect you from the more nefarious elements of society and the military keeping our shores safe.
Of course I like those things, you say. But couldn’t they do that with just a little less of my money.
To be honest, not really, though the military could probably do with less. A recent study I saw said, over time, the military has “spent” $4 trillion (yes, trillion) and nobody has any idea what it went for. I’ve always thought the government/military is probably doing things with your money you really don’t want to know about.
The old adage that everything is going up but my paycheck rings true for a lot of us. If you still get a raise every year, then you must be in an industry that still serves some purpose. I haven’t had a raise in nine years, which says all you need to know about the woes of the publishing industry.
But I will tell you that the cost of things in the past nine years haven’t stayed static like my paycheck. And those rising costs include all the services the government provides. Paving a small stretch of highway can cost $1 million. You may demand to know why that is, but if you hit a pothole that you think has torn your car apart, you’d probably say an extra $10 a year to fix that pothole would be worth it.
And an extra $10 a year is all the 12-cent property tax rate increase would have cost most people. If the average value of a home on Monroe County is $100,000, 12 cents equals $10 or so more using that weird math that figures out your tax payment.
Some homes are worth more, but not that much more, and some are worth less, though not all that less. Shoot, even one of those big mansions on the lake probably doesn’t top $500,000 in value. And if you can afford a house that costs that much, you probably don’t worry too much about tax rates.
The 12-cent tax increase would have take the rate from $1.97 to $2.09 and that was just too much for some people. But we have it pretty easy down here. A Google search showed New Jersey has some property tax rates that would cause heart failure down here.
Pennsville Township in Salem County in the Garden State has a property tax rate of $3.96, but they have it easy compared to Stratford Borough in Camden County, which has a property tax rate of $4.23. But the big daddy in New Jersey (get your pearls ready to clutch), is Woodlynne Borough, also in Camden County, which has a tax rate of $7.63. If you live in Woodlyn Borough your average yearly tax bill is $5,238.
Adding $10 to your yearly tax bill of $500 in Monroe County doesn’t seem that bad now, I guess.
Listen, I get it that money’s tight and adding just a few dollars to an already existing bill can knock things out of whack. But we all spend money on things we don’t need that adds to way more than $1 or so a month. And I know there are elderly on fixed incomes, but there are always provisions made for the elderly who don’t have much.
And truth be known, your property taxes, no matter what they come to, will never equal what’s taken out of your paycheck right off the bat. Heck, it’ll never equal the sales tax you pay in the course of a year. And it pales in comparison to the money you pay for the gas tax. All things considered, probably 30% or more of what you make goes to taxes. And let’s not even get started on the interest you might have on any loans.
In a perfect world, we’d have a flat tax rate and everybody would pay 10-20% of their income as taxes, which would be a huge discount from the above mentioned taxes for most of us, and the military wouldn’t shrug its collective shoulders when asked where $4 trillion has gone.
And you wouldn’t have to carry on whenever it was suggested you pay an extra $35 a year to keep the local stuff going.
But it’s not a perfect world, and I guess things will keep going as they are. But I could be wrong.