A Tale of Two Cities

March/18/2011 16:57PM
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I own two houses. One in Illinois and one in Arizona.

Both have lower assessments than they had two years ago. The housing values have gone down both places. No surprise. That’s where the similarities end.

In Illinois, despite the lower assessed value the tax bill is up 5%. In Arizona, the tax bill is down 25%.

So, in one state and county the homeowner, despite losing value in an asset is expected to pay more for government spending. In the other, the politicians have made adjustments for less revenue and did not offset voter net worth loss with spending increases.

Where will housing values recover? In Illinois, with more and more homeowners seeing home values go below mortgage rates the politicians don’t see a reason to keep more and more from walking away from those homes. They will see increased foreclosures as they add another reason to pack it in. In Arizona, the politicians are tightening their belts to keep home ownership from getting worse.

The state of Illinois is trying to keep from going bankrupt by raising taxes. The state of Arizona is trying to balance a budget by cutting expenses.

Does common sense tell you that this is a microcosm of the country. Democrats believe we need to keep spending and raise taxes to fix our broken economy. Republicans believe we need to lower taxes and cut expenses to get our economy back on track.

Pretty simple when it gets right down to your property taxes. Do you believe it’s fair to watch the value of your house go down 40% and have your property taxes go up?

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