Sorry, I've been neglecting you all for a few days. I teach a three hour class on state and local politics on Wednesday afternoons. It's a new prep, so I'm usually up the night before until 2am making powerpoint slides and grading papers. I'll get the kinks out of this class, and be back to proper blogging soon. Last night, I was too groggy to write a post, so I answered e-mail and played dumb video games.
One of my neighbors, Shawn, is flipping out over the property taxes in New Jersey. In the past four years, her taxes have nearly doubled from $4,500 to $8,200. 8 grand is actually lower than the neighboring towns. Nearly 75% of that money goes to the schools. Some of it goes to Newark and Elizabeth for their schools. We also have tiny little school district up here, each of which has a superintendent that gets paid $200,000.
Shawn is complaining that property taxes in her native Louisiana and in Florida are much, much cheaper - maybe $1000 per year. The old people in town are complaining in town council meetings that they are being forced out. The town leaders are complaining about having to give money to Newark. Lots of griping going on around here.
I've been shooting back e-mails begging my buddy to stay, since there's always a fun party in her kitchen. Also, the public schools in that area aren't wonderful. Both of their salaries would be cut in half. The values of homes in this area are always rising.
Megan McArdle had a post up last week about whether or not people willingly pay taxes. (link when I'm not so tired). I'm willing to pay the higher taxes in New Jersey. I'm getting things for that money -- better schools, a home that holds its value, access to better paying jobs, proximity to New York City, access to grandparents. Taxes aren't always about money for other people; it's also about services for you.