[Vision2020] Sales Tax Not Fair to Poor

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Fri Sep 1 14:54:36 PDT 2006

>From today's (September 1, 2006) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with a special
thanks to Geneva Farnam.


I am a homeowner, and I suppose I should be really happy about a property
tax cut, but I am not if it would be at the expense of people who can least
afford it. 

No matter how low your income, you have to buy in order to live, and when
you buy, you have to pay the sales tax. It's just not right. 

Geneva Farnam, Moscow


And just how does Dale "Comb-Over" Courtney's Brainless Log (BLog) respond?

This is how:

"Let's do the math. Your property taxes will go down $300 for every $100k of

So if you own a house appraised at $200k (the average house in Moscow these
days), then you will save $600 per year. 

In order to pay $600 more in sales tax (at a 1% rate), you'd need to spend
over $60,000 per year in items that are taxed by Idaho sales tax. 

I don't personally know anyone in Moscow who has that kind of income. 

Maybe you do, though.

Bottom line: sales taxes are far less detrimental to the poor than are
property taxes. You can control the sales taxes (choose when/where to buy;
choose not to buy discretionary items; etc). You don't have the option of
not paying your property taxes - taxes that go up without the owner actually
having more income to pay for it."

Nope.  Nothing wrong with your math there, C-O.

Question, though:  Since this discussion concerns poor people and property
tax, how many poor people do you know who own a house valued at (or over)

C-O further claims that sales tax is a discretionary tax, as its impact is
gauged on the increase or decrease of a person's purchasing habits.  You may
be on to something, C-O.  Just think how much that poor family's tax
liability would be reduced if they simply gave up food.

The bottom line here is (as illustrated by Dale "Comb-Over" Courtney):

People fortunate enough to own property will realize a tax liability
reduction of "$300 for every $100k of valuation [property valuation]", while
those less fortunate families will realize a 1% cost increase each time they
go through their grocer's check-out line.

Thanks for the math lesson, C-O.  And as far as not having the "option of
not paying your property taxes" is concerned . . . well, that's another
discussion for another day.

Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"If you are going to take Federal Money, then you need to accept the Federal

- Dale Courtney (December 5, 2005)

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