Monday, November 28, 2011

Stacking The Deck In The Queen City

It's not just at the federal level where tax shifting games and loophole nonsense are played and the wealthy benefit, it happens at the local and county level, too.  Take Cincy's sales tax increase for the stadiums, for example.

Owners of Hamilton County's high-end homes get more back in a property tax rebate than they pay in the half-cent sales tax that funded the construction of the county's two professional sports stadiums.
That means the "average" county homeowners are footing the bill for the stadiums.

As Hamilton County commissioners work to cover a $14.2 million deficit in the stadium fund, some are questioning whether that's fair.

The Enquirer analyzed last year's $17.4 million property tax payout, the most recent data available, ahead of a commissioner decision this week about what the rebate should be in 2012.

The half-cent stadium sales tax paid by homeowners is estimated by the county to be a maximum $192 annually, while owners of the county's highest-value homes get rollback rebates of $1,175 or more - netting them nearly $1,000 apiece under the current structure.

Yeah, that's right, a net county tax rebate for the wealthy while the stadium fund remains millions in the red. Nice work if you can get it, and that's because sales taxes (and other consumption based taxes) hit poorer Americans harder.  By definition they are regressive.  Meanwhile, the property tax rollback means those who have significant wealthy in real estate are taking money from the county on a net taxation basis.

The real problem is that the property tax rebates if eliminated, would get rid of the county's stadium fund shortfall...and still leave money for some rebates.

It seems like there should be an obvious solution here.  We'll see if county commissioners are willing to remedy this problem.

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