Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Tennessean Loves Taxes

The Nashville based paper The Tennessean LOVES to make taxes sound like the solution to all of the world's problems. They were for the state income tax all the way, they were against Bush's tax cuts, and now they are very much for another increase in property taxes for the Nashville/Davidson County area.

The group, Tennessee Tax Revolt was at a meeting to protest the increase in taxes, stating that the already high property tax rate is forcing people to leave the area in search of lower tax rates, and the numbers show that is the case. There were 28,000 more people who moved OUT of Davidson county than moved in. The only reason that the population of the area increased was due to births of citizens who stayed.

However, The Tennessean wouldn't sit silent. They decided to take the figures, and tweek them a little bit to discredit the Tax Revolt's findings.

Moreover, Tennessee Tax Revolt's own analysis contains findings that cast doubt on the premise that people migrate from areas with high property taxes to areas with lower property taxes.
Rutherford County, for instance, is among the state's fastest-growing counties, with one of the lowest out-migration rates, according to the Tennessee Tax Revolt analysis. Yet, Murfreesboro's property tax rate is comparable to Nashville's.
Similarly, Montgomery County is growing rapidly, although Clarksville's property tax rate is higher than Nashville's.
Conversely, several rural counties with extremely low property tax rates have seen people leave at rates almost as fast as Nashville, according to the group's analysis.

Pay attention to the bold lettering, because it becomes important. But later on, a bit of information that is buried in the article comes to light.

For Davidson County homes sold in 2004, the median price per square foot was $91, according to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency's chief of research, Paul Henkel.
In neighboring Wilson County, the square-foot cost was $86. In Sumner County it was $80, and in Rutherford County $75.

So what's the point? I'll explian. Property taxes are based on the value of your home. For example, a house worth $400,000 in Davidson County can be bought in Rutherford County for almost half, at $300,000. So the tax rate may be the same, but since the value of the home is less, then the taxes you pay will be less.

It was a good effort by The Tennessean to distort the facts, but none the less, it failed.