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What Actually Makes Up Property Taxes

To The Reader’s Forum:

It’s Property Tax time again, the bills are arriving in the mail. Grrrr. And just so we’ll know why those taxes are where they are, we get a little explanation of what makes up the tax levy. Sure enough, Medicaid, and county tax make up a whopping 92 percent of my property tax. Grrrr. So we will all hear the complaints about “welfare bums,” and “county taxes.”.

Well, I am now going to tell you who the biggest welfare bum is. And who really takes almost all our county taxes. Really. And I know. I was commissioner of Social Services here from 1987 to 1993.

That Medicaid bill that is 47 percent of your property tax exists because the state does not completely reimburse the county for Medicaid costs. Grrrr. Welfare bums. But wait a minute — 70 to 80 percent of that Medicaid goes to pay nursing homes and home health agencies to take care of sick elderly county residents. Yep. That welfare bum is your grandma. (I know that too — I was administrator of the Chautauqua County Home from 1982 to 1987). And that other 20 to 30 percent. None, zero, nothing, goes to illegal immigrants. Most of that goes to — children under 8 years of age. These are facts. Not opinions.

And how about that county tax that makes up another 45 percent of your property tax bill? Well, again, if the state reimbursed the county fully, that would be gone too. (At the risk of repeating myself, I know about that too. I was Deputy County Executive for Human Services).

So, if the county was fully reimbursed for Medicaid and county expenses, your tax bill would be 8 percent of what it is? Yep. Grrr. Why can’t we do this? The State says it can’t afford it because the Fed says it can’t afford it.

Now for the easy part. If the federal government just took part–not even all–of the tax cut they gave (and want to give more) to the super rich, and gave it instead to the states and/or counties to reduce your taxes, 92 percent of your property tax bill would disappear. Take a good look at your bill. Cross out the last three numbers of “Total Taxes Due.” What’s left is more than you would be paying. Welfare for the super rich means you get to pay more than ten times what you could be paying for property taxes.

So read your tax bill. And have a better idea why it’s as high as it is.

Charles Ferraro

Westfield

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