A few months ago, I received a visit from someone who had come to re-evaluate my home for the purposes of imposing “appropriate” property taxes. The evaluator asked if I had granite countertops and a finished basement; I welcomed him in and showed him my 35 year-old kitchen, sans granite, and asked if a newer kitchen would affect my taxes. His reply, “Of course.”
This is why I must state my opposition to the method of imposition of property taxes. When someone undertakes a home improvement project, they pay the township for permits, which brings income to the town. Additionally, the project itself costs the homeowner money for materials and labor, which is obviously good for the local economy, as jobs are created and maintained. Further, the state levies a sales tax of 7% on the money spent on material and labor, so again, the government gains revenue. In fact, a $20,000 kitchen remodel will generate at least $1600 for permits and sales tax.
Isn’t that enough money for government? Why should they continue to collect by raising your property taxes? Because your home is worth more? So what! It’s worth more because you have invested money into your home to improve your living condition while producing jobs and giving the government revenue through permit fees and sales tax. Why should you continue to pay local government annually for the work you’ve done? Surely that work does not lead you to use the township’s services any more than your neighbors who may not have ever improved their homes.
Put it this way… Every citizen of my town has the same access to public safety through police, fire and ambulance. Every citizen of my town has the same access to public schooling for their children. Every citizen of my town over a certain age has the same access to the senior center. Every citizen has the same access to sidewalks, roads, parks and the library, etc.
So why aren’t we paying a flat tax for property taxes? Why are people penalized for producing jobs for the home improvement industry? Isn’t it time that everyone pays the same amount of property taxes on their homes in New Jersey?