House Bill 4784 would allow capped homesteaded assessments to remain capped on properties purchased by citizens who have lived in the same local tax-collecting unit for three years or more.
As it is now, it is financially very difficult for older citizens to downsize or younger ones to “upsize” in their traditional communities. A smaller home might well carry a greater “stepped up” tax bill while a larger one assuredly would.
The prime purchase question has become, not what is the asking price, but what would the real estate taxes “step up” to? And, can we afford the new taxes? Or, would we have to change our life styles or stop funding for retirement, college, etc.?
In effect, government tax policy is determining where our children and we will be living in the future. While those living in a “taxing district” would still be just as poorly off if they wanted to move into another “taxing district,” at least those who want to stay in their local community, could remain after downsizing or upsizing.
Perhaps the next step could be the elimination of the step up for everyone, regardless where they moved in the state. After all, why should local governments receive a “windfall” of this magnitude? They took no risks of ownership, paid no homeowner’s insurance premiums, paid none of the taxes they charge us, and made no sacrifices to maintain the home. Why should they continue to receive a “windfall” calculated to drive us from our local communities?
House Bill 4784 deserves support. It is not perfect, but something must be done soon. It is a good place to start.