There is no “silver bullet” when it comes to tax reform. Any tax reform measure will involve shifting the tax burden from one type of tax to another. Property taxes are the most reprehensibly immoral tax and should be abolished in SC.
The property tax debunks the whole idea of “real home ownership” and requires owners to “rent” a home even after the mortgage is paid. Families never really own their home as long as it can be taken from them. Many seniors today struggle on a fixed income and are constantly under the government’s threat of eviction unless they pay their tax bill. Is not home ownership a unique part of the American dream that sets us apart from other countries? Property owners are forced to pay a bill regardless of one’s income and must pay even if the owner has been laid off or is on a fixed income. Not only is the property tax morally wrong but it stifles economic growth.
Eliminating the property tax can help prevent upstate families from losing their homes from foreclosures by eliminating the property tax escrow payment and greatly reducing a family’s mortgage payment. Abolishing the property tax could be a creative mechanism in stimulating the housing market by making homes more affordable for upstate families and investors. Building permits would skyrocket and would allow homeowners to spend more money in their local economy.
How would “no property taxes” help new and existing businesses? New businesses would be attracted to relocating to our state and would add new jobs and help grow our economy. For many existing small businesses not having to pay the high fixed costs of property taxes would allow them to hire more employees and expand their businesses. Property reassessment and administration costs would also be eliminated, saving money for our local governments.
Abolishing the SC property tax is our moral imperative. Is it fair to put the entire tax burden of paying for public schools on only one group in South Carolina, the SC property owner? Many superintendents of school districts, who have PhDs in education are taught that there are three main components of taxes: income, sales, and property, which are all essential toward a good educational system. If this is true, then why are SC schools ranked as the lowest in the country? There must be a paradigm shift in the way we think about SC taxes and educational reform.
Currently there is no tax on certain groceries like unprepared foods, soda, and candy, etc. in SC. Recently, Rep. Kit Spires, in Columbia, pre-filed a bill to eliminate property taxes and charge a sales tax on groceries that would bring in an estimated $375 million a year. With this tax everyone will pay their share of the tax burden. This is a bold move taken by Spires and is the first step in finding a “fair” solution for SC.
In conclusion, legislators must do the moral task of abolishing SC property tax, cutting wasteful spending, balancing the budget, finding other streams of revenue to fund schools, and most importantly, giving SC families financial security in truly owning their homes.
by Joshua Cook