So, in Other Words, It Was Already a Scam?
It’s instructive to watch the pieces that fall away when financial difficulties force changes in public policy, because they reveal glimpses of the scam inside. The latest (that I’ve noticed) comes with the car tax controversy:
The state Vehicle Value Commission dropped the value of some older cars during a brief meeting Tuesday, but did not address the ongoing controversy over the contention that the state puts too high a price tag on taxpayers’ cars. …
Up until last year, the state required municipalities to trim $6,000 off all vehicle valuations on the condition that the state would make up the difference in revenue to the localities. When the state found it could no longer afford the program, it gave communities the option to do away with all but $500 of the $6,000 value exemptions.
It is the state, not the municipality, that requires the use of the highest National Automobile Dealers Association level — the “clean retail value” — to determine the tax on all cars, whether they are “clean” or not. That’s akin to appraising every house as if it is in excellent condition for its style and age.
As the above quotation explains, the state had been disguising this unfair method by discounting all cars and paying the difference from other revenue. In practical terms, while car owners may not have been paying too much for their own cars, income tax payers, and those whose money found its way to the General Assembly by other means, were paying too much for other people’s cars.