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The State Newspaper Is No Friend Of Property Rights
Doug Kendall
November 18, 2005

In the November 15th edition of The State newspaper, Associate Editor Cindi Ross Scoppe penned an article entitled, “Reasons to tax homes far outweigh reasons not to tax them”—and, once again, The State shows its true socialist colors by advocating for continued government control of property and wealth redistribution.

According to Ms. Scoppe—who has declined past invitations to discuss her positions on radio—a “complete eradication” of the property tax on homes would mark the most “radical” change in tax policy in more than a half-century.

First of all, “radical” is a subjective term. We constantly hear politicos speak of the “radical left,” the “radical right,” “radical Libertarians,” “radical changes in policy,” etc., but all that really means is that what is being presented is the opposite of what the speaker wants.

As for the change in tax policy, it is long overdue.

In the article, Ms. Scoppe breaks down complaints against the property tax into two categories: “Tangible” and “philosophical.” The tangible complaint concerns people on a fixed income who may be forced out of their homes due to rising property taxes. The philosophical complaint concerns the fact that you never own your home as long as you have to pay a fee to the government every year—a property tax—just to keep it.

For the tangible complaint, Ms. Scoppe suggests that lawmakers address that issue specifically. In liberal-speak, that means give breaks to those who are on a fixed income, and tax the heck out of everyone else to make up for it—and keep right on sticking them with government control of their property.

As for the philosophical complaint, she tries to justify the tax by saying that the practice of taxing property “isn’t a new or radical concept. It’s as old as civilization itself. And with good reason.”

She also argues that the ownership argument is flawed: “By that logic, having to pay an income tax means you never own your time or your talents—that you are a slave.”

Congratulations, Ms. Scoppe. Finally, you understand.

She goes on to state that early rulers received “payments from their subjects in the form of property,” and over time this practice evolved into what we now know as the property tax. Sorry, but the practice was draconian then, and it still is, today.

This is government by The People, for The People, of The People, so I don’t consider myself, or anyone else, to be a “subject” of the government. Government officials are supposed to be public servants, not public rulers.

Reading further, the article states that a white paper from the National Council of State Legislatures explains that a national property tax on land provided a way for our fledgling country to fund its fight for freedom. How ironic that a government would hold its citizens’ property hostage, and then say that it is using the extorted money to fight for their freedom. That sounds more like Orwellian double-speak than freedom—and if that’s the kind of freedom that Ms. Scoppe is advocating, I’ll pass.

Moving on, the article states that the “practical reason” for using property taxes is that “they make it difficult to avoid your obligation to pay for your community’s services”—and, once again, we’re talking about government force.

If people don’t want to pay for “community services,” such as trash collection, water, sewer, or beautification, they should have a right to withhold their money and handle those things on their own. There is nothing that the government does that the private sector can’t provide more cheaply and efficiently—including police protection—and people should have the right to choose their provider, if they are truly free. (Kind of reminds me of how our government is trotting around the globe, supposedly spreading freedom, yet we are anything but truly free here at home.)

Lastly, Ms. Scoppe plays the typical, liberal ‘fair share’ card.

I wish someone would define “fair share” for me, once and for all. No matter how many times I ask, no one can give me a flat number or percentage. With socialists, that figure changes, depending on who you are and how much wealth you have accumulated (or how much they think you have accumulated); therefore, there is no such thing as a “fair share” or fair tax.

Governments will fight, tooth and nail, to keep property taxes in place, because, as Johnny Andrews (Hartsville City Council) recently stated, “Property taxes are not subject to economic downturns.” That’s right, but citizens’ paychecks certainly are, and government should have to work within the same economic environment that it creates for the rest of us. Government should not be allowed to prosper while most of us struggle to pay our bills and put food on the table.

Government is a concept, not a person. Concepts do not have rights; only individuals have rights. To say that we owe, and are under the threat of jail time if we don’t pay, a “fair share” of our wealth to a concept—a concept that simply demands and steals, but has not earned, our money—is simply ridiculous.

Speaking of “fair share,” since The State constantly contains articles that seem to be in support of increasing the money going into government coffers, why doesn’t it advocate for the repeal of the sales tax exemption on newspapers, and refuse to accept property tax exemptions? Also, The State could refuse to accept the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) credit that it is reportedly eligible to receive.

With the sales tax exemption on newspapers, and The State newspaper’s constant whining about how government needs more of our money, how “fair” is it for The State newspaper to get sales tax money to offset its own tax bill?

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Opt out? Sure, if you also opt out of driving on government on roads built by government, don't call the cops if you're mugged, don't call the fire department when your home is burning. Do all those things, then you can legitimately opt out.  . . .

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