Is it JOLT or AARP? Examine tax exemptions for senior citizens
To the Editor:
Some people seem to think that if you have managed the amazing feat of reaching the age of 65, you have somehow become entitled to have other people subsidize your life. I can see how this mindset could happen, after all, seniors get discounts at the grocery store, movie theaters, hotels and restaurants, etc. The difference here is that these are privately owned businesses. If they make a decision to give discounts to one group of people, and charge another group of people higher prices to make up for it, that is their business. It is a different story when the government uses the force of law to give money to one group and take it from another.
Yet, in spite of the crying and complaining, you may be surprised to learn that the City of Madison and Morgan County do give tax breaks to seniors. If you are 62 and have less than $10,000 of investment income, (Social Security and pensions don’t count), you can get an exemption for the school tax. There is another tax exemption once you reach age 65 with the same income requirement.
We are told that of the 17,868 residents in the 2010 Census, 15.5 percent are 65 and over. That does not mean that the remaining 84.5 percent are adults and property taxpayers. Also, as long as 80 percent-plus of the land is in Conservation Use paying less than $5 per acre, there is no money to subsidize any other group. The land barons have cornered the subsidized property tax market and the beneficiaries include most of the elected officials (or family members) who make these decisions.
For fun, take a look at the Assessor’s website to view the homes of the folks who are asking us to pay their taxes.
Printed in the May 3rd, 2012 edition.