I haven’t voted yet, but I am decided (Romney).
But that isn’t the purpose of this post. Locally, we have an amendment to our state constitution that I’m bothered by. The amendment, to summarize, basically allows military personnel and their families an exemption on their property tax in any given year that they are deployed for at least 200 days. The net effect is that it will my property taxes roughly $1 for every $250,000 of house you own.
And I don’t like it.
Now before you accuse me of being anti-soldier/military, please remember both my wife and my dad are proud veterans. I couldn’t be more proud of both of them for their service. But this is a classic example of government solving problems poorly.
Instead of addressing the issue at hand–the difficulty of financially surviving a deployment–this amendment attempts to address this by what amounts to a one-time payment to the deployed family. But there are so many issues with this, as there are often are with government attempts to resolve issues:
- This exemption only applies to military personnel who own property. If you don’t own property, you don’t get the benefit.
- If you live where I live in a house like I live in, this benefit provides roughly $60 a month. While that’s an appreciable amount, let’s not kid ourselves that this is a life-altering amount for the vast majority of people. Surely it would benefit some–perhaps even many–but it is a band-aid solution to a very real problem–poor pay for our soldiers.
I grew up military. In all my youth, I do not remember a single military family who owned their home. Currently, I know a handful, all of them officers making a much better wage. For those on the edge, who this benefit is supposed to help, I would imagine the vast majority don’t own a home. How does this help them? In effect, it grants a nice little tax break to those that don’t necessarily need it.
Note: Yes, I recognize that this also applies to members of the National Guard who, admittedly, are more likely to own a home. I think the point still stands.
And to my second point, it does not address the very real problem of low pay for arguably one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs. If the point is to help our valiant and noble servicemen and women and help them survive the financial difficulties associated with deployment, try paying them a fair wage.
Come tomorrow, I will be voting NO on this particular amendment, not because I don’t want to help our troops but because this is a solution that does not address the problem.