August 5, 2010

OP-ED: Taxes are revolting, why aren't you?

By Anthony De Cubellis
Libertarian Candidate for State Assembly, 62nd District

Despite assurances to the contrary, the recession continues to take a toll on Racine residents and businesses. Racine is struggling with a 14.2% unemployment rate and more home foreclosures as residents grudgingly accept pay cuts, lose hours, lose jobs, or fall off of the compensation rolls entirely.

Last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned the economic outlook is “unusually uncertain” and that unemployment rates will likely remain high for several years. Are these years to be Racine’s Great Depression? Racine needs more jobs and affordable housing but in Racine’s ever-increasing property tax environment we have less affordable housing and fewer jobs. It’s time to try
something new.

In 2008, at the start of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, the average residential assessment was $124,700 which created a property tax liability of $2,700 for the average homeowner. This $200 per month in property tax is a 33% additional cost on top of a $600 or $700 mortgage payment. This $200 per month is groceries, it’s a winter utility bill, and it is potential discretionary income to spur local economic growth. The absence of that tax would make home ownership and rents more affordable.

It’s time for Wisconsin to abolish the property tax. No tinkering or fiddling with rates; abolish it completely. Abolishing the property tax would no longer allow politicians to play favorites with preferred companies -- by granting property tax exemptions -- while home-owning taxpayers pick up the budgetary slack. Abolishing the property tax would lower rents -- as the property tax would no longer be part of the owner’s costs. Abolishing the property tax would mean your property rights are secure -- in that you do not “rent” your property from your local government.

To fund local government, in lieu of the property tax, Wisconsin taxing authorities would be required to levy a sales tax complete with current sales tax exemptions. This would allow the financially stressed to concentrate, tax-free, on the basics of home, food, and utilities. A sales tax would exert competitive downward pressure on the rate between municipalities vying for tax revenue. Raise the rate too high and Racine consumers will shop in Kenosha: Racine will lose tax revenue. Keep the rate low and Kenosha consumers will shop in Racine: Racine will gain tax revenue.

When elected to the legislature, Abolishing the property tax will be my first order of business.

Wisconsin must abandon this regressive tax which punishes everyone, especially those on fixed incomes and the financially distressed. Wisconsin must embrace a new economic freedom where our residents have control over their tax liability and create an environment where tax rates are kept low in an effort to attract tax revenue through additional commerce if we are to prosper in the face of this economic malaise.


This is Anthony De Cubellis' first run for office, opposing Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, and Republican challenger Chris Wright of Sturtevant. De Cubellis, a Racine native who turned 43 on Tuesday, worked at SC Johnson for 13 years, and now is a materials manager at Honeywell Analytics in Lincolnshire, IL. He served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, from 1985-'89, in Okinawa, the Philippines and California. He is engaged to be married.

He says he's running because of "the economic situation we found ourselves in since 2008, with the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. As economic liberty decreases, we can't go down with the ship; we have to push back." Nor is it just economics: "We feel a lot of personal liberties being squashed every day; civil liberties, like a noose slowly tightenig around our neck."

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