Rome, NY Sucks

I can't believe how many people want to be Mayor of Rome in 2015.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Your Home is Their Castle

I thought I would join the chorus of blogs taking on the recent Supreme Court Kelo decision. The repsonse shows that true conservatism is not dead. The kind of business at all costs attitude projected on conservatives by liberals would mean we'd support kicking out worthless homeowners for expensive new developments. Conservatism has rallied, however, and the right of property owners has taken the center stage.

Locals like NYCO have compared this to Sherrill's case against the Oneidas, calling all US residents "Indians" now I'd point out there are a few differences. Sherrill was an overwhealming 8-1 decision, while Kelo v. New London was a 5-4 squeaker. The Sherrill decision puts the Oneida Nation in the same boat as other businesses that use local services like roadways and utilities. The Kelo decision is aimed directly at homeowners.

This case touches on an important local situation. Do you really own your property? The answer is truly yes and no. You can buy a house and land, but you will probably pay rent for the rest of your life. In most parts on the country, a landowner has to pay property taxes. If you don't or can't pay these taxes, the land you own will be confiscated. Due to recent laws, your house could be worth 5 times your tax bill and still be stolen from under you with no compensation.

In New York, you have to pay county, city and school taxes. If Sherrill did get their tax revenue from the Oneidas, they might be able to elimiate their taxes. Rome, however, has gone beyond the breaking point. The low standard of living has made this area a haven for those who generally go on Medicaid. That drives up the county's Medicaid cost. The Rome School District has been on a drunken spending spree so long they actually had to slash the budget for once. Those two factors have made a Rome homeowner's taxes around 5% of the total assessed value to be paid every year! Of course, assessments have little to do with the fair market value. You could end up paying for your house every 15-20 years.

It is having an impact. Oneida County tried to shift the property tax burden this year by jacking up the sales tax by 18% (19% taking into account the sales tax cut by the state). The Rome School District will make up the budget shortfall this year by raising property taxes. I can't go anywhere in this city now without driving on a street with For Sale signs on it. We may need jobs, but we really need a government that knows the maximum level they can spend and not spend any more. If your home is taken by a mall development or a tax bill that exceeds your post-layoff annual income, it's just as lost.

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