Monday, October 25, 2010

New York State of Mind

Former Harlem postal worker Jimmy McMillan stole the debate for New York governor last week by reiterating that the "rent is too damn high." He didn't stop there. In response to being questioned about gay marriage, McMillan responded that "if you were in love with a shoe, i'd marry you."
As the audience roared with laughter the moderator then stated "Next question goes to you Ms. Davis." At the time, I didn't know who "Ms. Davis" was so I googled her and discovered she was a former prostitute and madam. Ms. Davis opined about the need for legalizing all drugs and prostitution. It was at this point that I realized the reason why the county I live in was just ranked the highest in the country for property taxes. When you have unqualified people vying for state leadership positions and will be responsible for managing taxpayer dollars, there's no wonder why people are moving out the state of New York in droves.
Property tax data was released several weeks ago ranking the highest property taxed counties in the country. Monroe county (Rochester, NY) ranked 1st in the country. That's right...the highest taxed county in the country is not Orange county, California or Westchester county, New York. It's Monroe county. The county famous for "The Garbage Plate" rakes the highest for percentage of property taxes in the United States.
Normally I wouldn't be comfortable disclosing personal financial information but in this case, it's necessary to paint the appropriate picture for the reason of the exodus out of New York state. My wife and I purchased a home here in Monroe county this past April. Our home is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath colonial on less than half an acre. We paid $218,000. The yearly property taxes on our home are $10,200. Upon research, a nearly identical property in Virginia recently sold for $220,000, but the yearly property taxes on that dwelling were $2,400. Similar properties in Alabama had yearly property taxes under $1,000.
New York state has too much "overhead." They have tried, unsuccessfully, many times to trim state budgets, cut social programs, and make the necessary changes to government infrastructure that would equate to lowering state costs. But year after year, state budgets increase. When the state budget increases, taxes have to go up to cover the costs. When taxes go up, people start to leave the state for more affordable opportunities (see above). When taxpayers leave the state, the increased tax burden is shared amongst the remaining property owners. It's a cyclical problem that shows no light at the end of the tunnel.
Meanwhile, we have unqualified candidates debating about marrying a "shoe." These candidates are trying to take over the position that is currently held by a man who used his power to score 2009 World Series tickets for he and his son...and he took over for a man who was soliciting prostitutes.
Uncontrollable spending seems to be New York's state of mind. I think Billy Joel should re-write his song.

1 comment:

Dan Murphy said...

Tom: That's crazy how high your property taxes are. I can attest that my yearly tax bill here in Alabama is nearly 1/20th of yours. Unfortunately here, to make up for the lost taxes, they allow for counties to assess a sales tax of 10 percent that applies to everything, including groceries and clothing, so the poorer folks that don't own property get slammed on necessities. I don't know that there's a perfect solution, but that tax bill of yours is ridiculous!