Friday, September 07, 2007

This post updated quadrenially

OK, some people are upset that property tax revaluations are occurring annually in Alabama now, instead of every four years, meaning a lot of folks have to pay a few extra dollars each year that they otherwise wouldn't. (Of course, our state still has by far the lowest property taxes -- and the lowest overall tax burden -- in the country, but that's another post for another time.) I get that.

Here's what I don't get: If annual reassessments are a problem, then why don't we determine all taxes quadrenially? Why stop with only occasionally reappraising property that increases or decreases in value every year? Why not set sales taxes as a fixed percentage of what an item used to cost? Why not see what individuals and businesses make in a given year, then tax them on that amount for the next four years, no matter what?

Sure, inflation will make things more expensive in the intervening years, leading to enormous anger and sticker shock when the sales taxes are finally adjusted. And sure, at some point in those four years, your business might go under, or your income might go down, or you might lose your job, or you might even decide to retire. But why should changed circumstances affect how much you pay in taxes for the next four years?

We're just trying to be reasonable here.

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