Wed
Dec 26 2007
12:04:pm

The property tax freeze for seniors authorized by Tennessee voters and enacted by Blount County last week has only been adopted in six other counties across the state.

Davidson, Wilson, Roane, Bradley, Knox, Hamblen and Blount are the only counties to enact the freeze so far.

According to the Tennessean, other counties are taking a wait-and-see approach, "because officials want to have all the details worked out first or because of concerns over future tax losses."

Blount County officials did their homework and asked the County Technical Assistance Service for guidance.

Commissioner Wendy Pitts Reeves explained her reasoning for coming around to support the freeze at her blog, and cites citizen input the deciding factor.

Commissioner Mike Walker discussed it at his blog, and posted a poll here at BlountViews that generated some discussion.

Hats off to Blount County officials for giving this serious consideration and for taking the lead in making this tax break available to Blount County seniors.

Seniors have until April 7th to apply. According to the Tennessean article, only 2,700 have applied in Davidson Co. and they expect about 6,000 out of a possible 12,000 who qualify. Wilson county officials say 337 have applied, although many more are eligible.

Commissioner Walker has a helpful guide on qualifying, and questions about some of the details.

Hopefully, county officials and the media will help get the word out to seniors who may be eligible. Wilson county officials are visiting senior centers to make presentations, which sounds like a good idea.

disabled?

Did the BC commission also pass this to include those persons not yet 65 but who are permanently disabled?

maybe...

the 88 other counties have a better approach. i was/am against the tax freeze.

doing nothing is not better

At least with this passing BC can start to work on the issue. If, when the dust settles and it turns out to cost the county much more than they first thought, they can simply vote to end the freeze next year. Better still, they can create that committee to actually study the impact this freeze had and make informed decisions about next year and the years after that.

Property Tax Freeze = Grandeurs of Delusion

The commissioners (and other supporters) apparently need a lesson in economics. They believe that a tax “freeze” will mean that senior citizens will no longer pay any increases in property taxes.

First, no government will live off of less than it wants. Therefore, tax increases will continue to accommodate increases in needed revenue. Basically, they will still get their money. If senior citizens do not pay an increase in taxes then taxes for everyone else will go up an additional amount necessary to offset what the increase senior citizens would have paid. Part of the way a business pays a tax increase is to pass it on to their customer in the form of higher prices.

Therefore, the senior citizen who “saves” on a property tax increase pays more money to have his lawn mowed because his landscaper is hit with a higher-than-normal tax bill. He pays more to have his hair cut because his barber is hit with a higher-than-normal tax bill. He pays more for his groceries because the grocer is hit with a higher-than-normal tax bill. He pays more to have his house painted because the painter is hit with a higher-than-normal tax bill. Do you notice a trend? The examples are endless.

So, does the senior citizen really “save” by not paying a property tax increase?

Come on!

Lester

Property Tax freeze for the Needy

God forbid, we'd offer any sort of Social help to poor widows, with possible memory disorders, trying to maintain their own households, by themselves.

viva Evo Morales

Government to the rescue, right?

If they are going to pay an increase in other products and services as a result of your “helping” them out, then you’re not really “helping” are you?

Lester

I don't believe that will be the case

Although I'm willing to 'fess up if I'm wrong.

But tell me, how many of our local services/products have prices that are based even in part on property taxes? Just curious.

winner

ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! wal-mart ain't gonna raise it's prices due to a property tax freeze for the elderly.

but i will say that the revenue lost due to the tax freeze will have to be made up somewhere else. Or, gawd forbid, the county government could look for ways to reduce the budget. I would for just once love to hear a politician say their main goal is to reduce the budget. the closest was clinton/gore reinventing government, but we know that was a passing fancy too.

I dunno

I think that the more senior citizens we can keep on their land the better off we are. If they have to sell off their barn and 20 acres to a developer, we wind up with 60 houses and half a kid per house average and presto! We're borrowing more money and building a new school before you know it.

Plus, we lost a bunch of green space that will be replaced with little boxes, roofs, driveways, and non-native plants. Pretty soon, no tourists want to come here anymore because they could stay HOME if all they want to see are rooftops.

I honestly think we will have a savings over the long run. It is the kind of thing that will be hard to calculate, of course, because you have to consider what might have happened without it.

It’s not a matter of belief.

It’s simple economics. If you do not believe that businesses pass on tax increases to their customers in the form of higher prices, you obviously know little about business. The objective of a business is to make money. If my taxes go up (i.e. the cost of my inputs increase) and I don’t raise my prices, my profit will decrease. Am I going to absorb this loss or am I going to make it up? ANY business is going to make it up else where. How do they do it? They either increase prices or decrease other costs. Since you cannot decrease a fixed cost over the short-run, the only alternative is to decrease a variable cost. The most expensive variable cost is labor. The only way to decrease labor cost is to cut wages or decrease the labor force (i.e. lay people off).

It doesn’t make sense to decrease labor costs to offset small increases in fixed costs over the short-run because such cuts result in significant decreases in production. Therefore, the only other logical way to offset a profit loss is to increase revenue. Thus, the most economic option is to raise prices.

This is what happens. It’s not rocket science; however, it’s not open to debate either. It’s just fact.

The comment that Wal-mart is not going to raise its prices because of a tax increase is really an ignorant thing to say.

Lester

Wal-mart

Well, maybe if the tax increase were in CHINA where much of their stuff is made...

You're right.

Such a well reasoned response.

Lester

tax increase...

sorry been on vacation.....

Look bottom line....

When taxes go up, and they will...sometime....

cost will go up for everyone, remember commerical goes up based on 40% not 25%....

Mike

Knox County applications

Knox county now has their application and information for the tax freeze available for viewing.

(link...)

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