Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tax Scofflaws

I suspect most everyone read the article in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago and saw the lengthy list of properties up for tax sale, or at least heard about it.

I feel deeply for those homeowners who through no fault of their own find themselves in financial distress, behind in their taxes and facing loss of their property. Truly that is a tragedy.

However, I have a lot less sympathy for those homeowners who simply fail to be responsible and set priorities in their lives. We all know of people like that.

And I have absolutely no sympathy for those who make a business decision not to pay their taxes. They are stealing from all of us who do pay our taxes on time.

A hefty portion of the properties up for tax sale are rental properties, both housing units and business properties. A disproportionate share of those rental properties are owned by just a handful of individuals or other entities. You will find that in most cases a last minute payment will be made to prevent the tax sale.

The owners have been collecting rent, but they have not been paying the taxes that support the county, municipal and school district services and obligations drawn on by their properties and their tenants. The owners have made a business decision to use our money. I find that the equivalent of theft.

The rest of us including the vast majority of landlords who are responsible have to offset that loss or delay of income to the county, school district and city.

Those landlords who play that game have no shame. Being listed as a tax scofflaw in the newspaper doesn’t bother them in the least. I doubt much does.