Comment 36819

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2010 at 11:05:47

highwater >> small amounts for individuals actually have a very large impact on the city's revenues, yet he would have us believe that individuals make major decisions based on these negligible amounts.

If you read my original comment, I'm actually suggesting a 0% tax on new equity, not just the difference between Hamilton and Burlington, which is roughly 0.5%. Therefore, the savings on 10k of new equity would be $159/year.

Currently, Hamilton homes are taxed at the rate of 1.59%, which means that for every 100k of market value, a person pays $1,590 in taxes/yr. If you invest time and money to increase the market value of your house, the city increases your tax bill. If you don't invest time and money into your house, the city reduces your portion of the tax bill.

Under a tax system based on square footage, taxes would not be based on investment at all, but simply on consumption. Since market value has absolutely nothing to do with how much a house consumes in government services, taxing market value is nothing but a punishment on success. Taxing market value rewards people who make the city look run down and punishes those who build the city back up.

Keep in mind that the city could still tax at whatever level it wanted to, it's just that the tax increases would need to be based on usage, rather than market value. In this way, they city would encourage home builders to create neighbourhoods of high value, but also of low costs.

If you like the idea of taxing wasteful sprawl and promoting low cost, but high quality neighbourhoods, taxing square footage is a much better way to get there than the tax system we have today. Reread this comment a few times and you'll see that I'm correct.

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