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  • 1
    • Budget Basics
  • 2
    • Local Tax Rate Summary
  • 3
    • Did You Know?
  • 4
    • Comparisons of Local Tax Burden
  • 5
    • Differences in Services
  • 6
    • Is tax fairness a problem in our community?
  • 7
    • Discussion Questions
  • 8
    • For More Information / To Get Involved / Share Your Views

What about fairness?

Local tax structure has many inequities

by Rodney Berry

One couple lives on Waverly Place. The husband works at the Earthgrains Bakery and his wife works at a downtown bank.

Another couple lives in the Thoroughbred East subdivision. The husband works at the Kimberly Clark plant and his wife teaches at Eastview Elementary School.

Each couple earns the same amount of money. Their homes and cars have the same value. But in 2006, one couple will pay 92 percent ($873) more in local taxes. Over a 40-year work life, the difference is more than $56,000. There are differences in government services from one area to another, but most people do not notice the difference. Is such a disparity justified? Is this right? Is this fair?

These inequities exist in three ways:

  • through city and county government occupational taxes
  • through city and county government property taxes
  • through city and county school property taxes

What is it costing me?

As the City-County Unification Task Force completes its work on whether local governments should merge, the central question among citizens continues to be “What will it cost me?” The task force examined services, departmental efficiency, representation and other local government issues. Members remain divided on whether or not unification is the most appropriate option for local government. Some acknowledge the advantages of consolidation, but these benefits seldom override concerns about the bottom line.

“What will it cost me?” is a legitimate question, but so is “What is it already costing me?” This issue brief summarizes the current inequities in our local system of taxation and the impact of those inequities over a working life of 40 years.

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