Sunday, March 5, 2006

Legal isn't good enough

When I talk to groups about changing the current ad valorem system of property tax distribution I am frequently challenged by those who feel that tradition has value and this tradition has withstood the test of time.

The system we use is specified in RIGL §44-5-1 "The tax is apportioned upon the assessed valuations as determined by the assessors of the town as of December 31 in each year at 12:00 A.M. midnight,"

Those assessments are driven by the marketplace, unlike the original intent of the law which developed long before the industrial revolution. In those early days, value was assessed on the basis of the income derived from property - we were an agricultural society after all. It was much closer to an income tax in those earliest days and it was quite fair. The wealthiest always paid the most.

Today, things are very different; the wealthiest can receive tax reductions, many average people get increases that force them sell their homes, yet after thousands of years, the law remains unchanged. The fact that it is legal simply isn't good enough.

It was once legal for white people to own black people
It was once legal for women and black people to be unable to vote.

We change unfair laws and this law is no exception. The American Industrial Revolution started in Pawtucket,
RI in 1793. It would be only right for the Property Tax Revolution to start here as well.

You can visit our website to see how at RIGHT

But maybe it's just me.