Loose ends: Taxes, Trump and takeovers

by Brian Clarey


Is there an upside to the housing crisis as its described in this week’s cover story (“Upside Down”; by Jordan Green; HERE).

It’s hard to find a silver lining with all these foreclosures — which, of course, were caused by heavy job losses, rising energy and food prices and ill-conceived loans — that leached so much value from homes that are still occupied and owned.

But one might think that the upside to plummeting home value would be a corresponding dip in property taxes, which are assessed as a percentage of home values. If the tax value of a home goes down, it naturally follows that the tax burden would as well. Right?

Wrong. The problem is that the costs of doing things that homeowner taxes pay for — schools, parks, law enforcement and the like — are fixed, more or less, and because of the increase in fuel prices may even be on the rise. So it seems inevitable that we will see a raise in taxes as our homes’ tax values are reassessed in the coming years, even though we may be paying the same dollar amount as we did before the crash. Unless somebody’s got a better idea.

Speaking of bad ideas, it seems that American’s favorite cantankerous boss, Donald Trump, is serious about his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

“I take everything seriously,” he said to a television reporter, “but I’m taking this very, very seriously.”

The thrice-bankrupt television personality and businessman has exemplified the seriousness of his campaign by jumping on the birther bandwagon (“His relatives don’t even know which hospital he was born in.”), takes aim on trade policy with China (“I have dinner with and know many Chinese businesspeople, and they cannot believe what they’re getting away with.”) and takes a hard stance on the presidential wardrobe (“You will not see me wearing flip-flops.”) One thing’s for sure, the guy is a quote machine — though how that translates into effective politics is unclear.

There’s nothing wrong with being self once in a while, which is why we are against North Carolina’s HB 472, which removes a vital function of newspapers — that if displaying legal notices — and hands it over to government-run websites. We do not run them in YES! Weekly, though our sister paper the Jamestown News does. But this is clearly a move designed to take money that goes to private business and divert it directly into public coffers — a government takeover if ever there were one.

Public notices include foreclosures, public auctions, class-action lawsuits and more items of information of which the general public should be informed. More than a few Triad residents make their livings through the public notices provided by their weekly and daily newspapers, and tucking these notices away on some obscure .gov page is a blow against democracy.

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