Circular Logic and Government Bureaucracy

Property taxes are the most regressive, egregious, disingenuous, and senseless taxes that we pay to live in a “free society.” Hardly free when you have to come up with a significant portion of the value of your property each year just to be able to think that you own it. You never own it. Try missing a property tax payment or two. You’ll find out pretty quickly that you are only renting that illusion from the state, for they will take it from you and put it up for auction in search of a new owner who will pay them their rent in the form of property taxes.

Property taxes have absolutely nothing to do with your ability to pay, your generation of income, or lack of same, from that property, or anything else, other than that the county or state send you a bill assessing a payment from you. If you own your property free and clear, with no mortgage or other encumbrance, you still have to pay this annual or semi-annual fee in order to pretend that you own it.

To say that I am a die hard opponent of property taxes, the idea of property taxes, or the very thought that you can own something that you never truly own, is, or should be obvious. Nonetheless, like all good, dutiful minions of government bureaucracy, I have always paid these taxes, even while protesting them.

Just recently I was made aware of an exemption about which my taxing unit had never informed me, that would significantly reduce my property tax payment each year. I guess it is sort of a special secret tax exemption, since you are not informed of its existence in any obvious way, and I guess if you never hear of it and file for it, you just go on paying more than you have to pay. This is well and good for those in the know who have been told about the exemption. It kind of sucks for those of who have not been made cognizant of its existence.

It sort of seems like to me that any and all exemptions should be factored in to the basic bill, assuming that anyone would want to make use of the cost savings built into such exemptions. These exemptions should be, in essence, the default, saving taxpayers state wide millions of dollars a year. I guess I understand why they want to bill us the higher amount and keep us in the dark to any lower tax potential. More money for the government. They get to make the rules and keep the money too. What a deal.

Well, the day we found out about the exemption, my wife went to the county auditor and filed for the exemption. She had to give them her Social Security number and her state driver’s license number in order to file for it. She called me for this same information. At the time I was unable to provide her with the driver’s license number, but things proceeded without it.

Today I received a letter from the auditor informing me that unless I provided them with this number, the exemption would not be finalized. I guess they were afraid that someone other than me would be trying to save me money by filing an exemption. That’s what the lady at the auditor’s office told me when I asked about why, since I do not drive my house, I had to provide a driver’s license number. What one thing has to do with another, I still am not sure. I was merely told it was “a government requirement.”

I also asked the very nice lady, “So if I didn’t have a driver’s license, I could not get this exemption?” Well, then the requirement changed. Now she told me that I could supply a birth certificate, or if I was Amish, a family Bible showing my birthdate. Wait a minute. The driver’s license is a “government requirement?” Yet there are exclusions? Then it is not a requirement. Which is it? It’s to my discredit that I wasn’t born at home to an Amish family. Then all I’d have to do is show up at the court house with a Bible with my name and birthdate penciled in. Curious to say the least.

I also requested written confirmation from the auditor’s office that had supplied this requisite piece of information and that my exemption would be calculated into my next property tax billing. The lady to whom I spoke said that this would not be necessary, that she would enter this number into the proper form and it would be processed accordingly. I told her, “No. I really would like a written confirmation that the exemption requirements have been met. You don’t trust that I am who I say I am, so why should I trust you and that you will do what you say you will do?” She acquiesced and agreed to send me a written confirmation.

I know it never does any good trying to decipher the strange workings of government, and how they impact our lives. It just seems curious to me that government is supposed to be our servant and we are the masters, and yet they furnish us with Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, etc., and then we spend the rest of our lives proving to them that we are who we say we are by using those self-same pieces of information. Unless we’re Amish, or mayber some other cultural or ethnic group that is, or could be, exempted due to circumstances.

I guess it’s a good thing that Barack Obama isn’t an Indiana resident, and that he most likely has a driver’s license. Otherwise he couldn’t get this exemption since, according to some, he doesn’t have a birth certificate. And he sure isn’t Amish.