Monday, February 14, 2011

Boomer Admits He's 'Embarrassed' That He's Paying Lower Property Taxes

Regular Franklin Avenue readers know I'm not a fan of Proposition 13, mainly because of the generational inequity. While boomer generation homeowners enjoy dirt cheap property taxes, young Gen X and Gen Y are playing three to four times (or even more) as much for the same size (or even smaller) homes.

It's personal: I know I'm paying more property tax on my tiny house than older folks who own mansions in Hancock Park.

At least one boomer is embarrassed. Glendale resident Gerry Rankin wrote this op-ed in today's Glendale News-Press:

My wife and I are living in the house we bought in 1966, 45 years ago. Maybe I’m supposed to feel smug, but I’m actually embarrassed when I think of the property taxes my neighbors on either side must pay. Both are young families with children whom the parents will be putting through college soon. One family bought five years ago; the other, five months ago. Their property tax bills are probably three or four times higher than mine. Is that fair?

One of the most frequently heard complaints from my age-bracket friends involves children or grandchildren moving back into my friends’ homes because they no longer have good enough jobs to pay for their own housing. Are we serious about wanting our children and grandchildren to enjoy a better, not poorer, lifestyle than we’ve experienced?
Perhaps opponents of Prop. 13 need to adopt the rhetoric of organizations like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- and start referring to Prop. 13 as an unfair tax on young adults. Rankin suggests making an even playing field and lowering the property tax rate -- but making sure everyone pays the same amount. For the majority of young adults who bought their house after 2002, this would represent a big tax break. And aren't the Howard Jarvis folks all about tax breaks?

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