EDITORIAL/Wealth redistribution and tax breaks
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:00 AM
Eliminating a huge tax break for the developers of Wells Place is the aim of the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors. They joined the Mississippi Association of Supervisors last week in calling for a repeal of a 2005 state law that shifted the tax burden to cities and counties in the name of providing better housing for the poor and generating economic development.
The federally-subsidized Section 42 housing developments have caused an unfair and disproportionate shifting of the tax burden across the state.
The exemption costs Neshoba County alone about $115,500 annually, Tax Assessor/Collector Mike Lewis estimated.
Without the exemption, Wells Place would be assessed at $6.7 million with a $144,600 tax bill, Lewis said.
Under the exemption, the assessed value of Wells Place is $1.3 million generating a tax bill of only about $29,000.
"Everybody should have to pay their part and their share and the law should be changed to require this," supervisors said in a prepared statement.
Seems everybody should have thought about that when they were lobbying for the exemption that benefits the rich developers and craftily redistributes wealth.
Former Sen. Gloria Williamson voted for the law and in 2009 lobbied for the Well Place project.
She believes Wells Place is a great opportunity because the residents lease the homes and after 15 years they're homeowners and start paying property taxes themselves.
Williamson said the special arrangement gives people who actually work a descent place to live. Firemen, teachers and police officers who make less than $40,000 a year could not afford those types of houses outside of Wells Place, she said.
That's all fine and dandy until they have to start raising everybody else's taxes.
We don't blame the poor, we blame the legislators, lobbyists, politicians and developers in their crony capitalist scheme disguised as economic development.
Developments like Wells Place were built in part using capital created by federal tax credits under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program ("LIHTC").
The LIHTC program awards federal credits to Mississippi. The state, through the Mississippi Housing Corporation, then awards the credits to private sector developers like Valley View Estates LLC, whose principle is John Chapman of Oxford.
In return, developers like Chapman construct a housing complex that is open only to households with incomes below a set maximum threshold. The developers are restricted in the amount of rent they may charge their tenants.
While the corporate welfare and the liberal pretenses are disgusting, the financing is so complex that repealing the law now would be disasterous on many fronts unless developments like Wells Place are grandfathered in under new legislation.
Wells Place is a classic model of European-like wealth redistribution that liberals are championing now and which Republicans have fallen for hook, line and sinker.
These politicians made their beds in 2005 and now they must lie in them - but not before they reach into our pockets to make up the difference.