ADVENTURE RANCH

ADVENTURE RANCH
ADVENTURE RANCH

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tax Relief for Elderly A Tall Order

Voters across the state said Yes in huge numbers to allowing for a change in the tax laws and provide some limits for senior citizens regarding property taxes. Today's Tennessean editorial on the topic says Nashville should lead the way in this change:

"
So it is not surprising that (Mayor Bill) Purcell would react quickly to the opportunity again to support such relief. In his letter to council members last week, Purcell described the effort as a way to help seniors "live out their lives in dignity in the homes where they raised their families and created the neighborhoods that bind our city together."

As lawmakers consider tax relief for seniors, which is highly popular, they must do so with the knowledge that it will mean other sources of revenue will have to bear more of the burden. Few people will argue with property tax relief for the elderly, but the trick will be in finding ways to make up the difference. So the effort must be handled carefully."

The devil is truly in the details for this measure.

The approved amendment states that cities and counties can enact the change, which could easily create mass confusion - what if the state's 95 counties create 95 different changes in the tax structure? And if cities can likewise draft their own laws, how many different tax laws will be created?

The approved amendment states that cities and counties can enact the change, which could easily create mass confusion - what if the state's 95 counties create 95 different changes in the tax structure? And if cities can likewise draft their own laws, how many different tax laws will be created? And as I understand the change, the General Assembly must first decide how much senior citizens can earn to even be eligible for a tax freeze.

The fact is no county or city is obligated to enact any changes. State agencies which advise cities and counties are certain to push for uniform laws, but the state's communities seldom act in agreement on anything.

This was a poorly conceived amendment, requiring zero compliance. The ballots themselves had errors in the wording of the change and "corrections" to the ballot wording were nearly impossible to find on election day - the polling place I went to had voting machines on one side of the room and the corrected wording for the ballot measure were posted on the opposite side of that room. As I understood it, the change in wording was supposed to be posted on the voting machines. That just did not happen at each polling location.

The size of the senior citizen population nationwide is going to grow by huge numbers within the decade and those in charge of drafting future tax rates are keenly aware of the coming changes.

I would expect changes in tax rates will be very very slow to emerge. I'm sure special committees to investigate the issue will be created and their eventual reports will arrive in some distant future. Glaciers will move quicker than any change in the tax laws.

3 comments:

  1. OXYMORON10:01 AM

    This is a Pandora's Box. I wonder what the interests were of the sponsors of this bill.
    It looks good on paper but somehow it smells to high heaven.

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  2. I can't see cities or counties enacting a limit on their taxation powers, regardless of whether the Legislature even bothers to create income guidelines.

    Non-binding referendums are a waste of time.

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  3. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Perhaps someone with an interest in political starts could research who started this amendment. But, the few "richies" who might benefit really are outnumbered by the "boomers" who are getting out of the workforce and just want to be able to pay their bills and taxes. The amendment was probably thought to be good for the few and the many dragging by the cote tails. (yes, cote is correct - look it up) Time will only tell if our own county will do the right thing with fairness. On another note - Amendment 1 was just plain mean. Sorry if I've repeated anything already been said. I'm a newbe.

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