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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Minimum Wage for Grandma to Pay the Taxes


One of the largest expenses for the elderly in our nation after healthcare is property taxes. Homes that were purchased forty or fifty years ago for five to ten grand are now appraised at over three hundred grand in some areas of the Northeast. Tack on a property tax bill at thirty dollars per thousand and we have a senior citizen on a fixed income nightmare.

One of the problems with a one for all tax base fee per thousand dollar home value is that it does not in fact take into consideration the age and income level of the homeowner. Granted good old Donald Trump is at the age of AARP membership level but the average senior citizen is not anywhere close to his income level. Should the two have homes and property taxed at the same level? Personally, I don’t think so.

I’m a large supporter of letting senior citizens keep their homes. Not for one second is their one iota of thought in my mind that thinks that we should toss them to the home if they can’t pay the property taxes due. Over at the Houston Chronicle I found this interesting piece on helping the elderly that are able to help themselves…

N.Y. town lets seniors work off property taxes — for $7 an hour

By JIM FITZGERALD
Associated Press

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Audrey Davison lives alone, gets a $620 Social Security check each month and worries about the sharply rising taxes on her four-bedroom house. Davison, 76, raised her family there and after 43 years, she really doesn't want to leave Greenburgh.

Greenburgh doesn't want her to leave, either.

The town is pushing a program that would let seniors work part-time, for $7 an hour, to help pay off some of their property taxes.

"People shouldn't have to sell their house, move away to a place with less taxes, leave behind their family and friends," said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

He envisions retired doctors mentoring schoolchildren, retired accountants helping with the town's finances, retired lawyers offering their services for a discount. But there are plenty of less-skilled jobs that need doing, he said.

"It's not like we're going to see grandma running the snowplow," he said. "There are lots of things people can do for the town and it wouldn't cost us that much to pay them."
- Houston Chronicle

Growing up I had my neighbors in a small town in New England that actually were able to live in their homes till the day they died because the town cared about it’s elderly citizens. After a certain age the elderly based on income paid no property tax to the town. The end result was my neighbor Betty Stein, may she rest in peace, that lived out her days in the home she and her husband bought sixty years prior. Betty was never in the best of health but she loved the kids in the neighborhood and always had treats for my friends and I that played in her yard, searching for crawfish in the pond behind her home, or just stopping in to say hello to her. Betty would never have been able to keep her home if she had to pay property tax on it. Her deceased husbands pension and Social Security were next to nothing.

Betty was wheel chair bound for all the time that I knew her growing up. Neighbors helped her every single day because she was just Betty. She had no living children or family to speak of and maybe that is why she adopted all of us neighborhood brats. What about all the other Betty’s in the nation today? Granted, our workforce in America has changed where both the husband and the wife worked a full career and with or without a pension still struggle to survive in the homes they bought so many years ago. This is an issue that needs to be looked at and solutions or probabilities discovered to save the senior citizens all across America.

Back just a few years ago the cost for just one senior citizen to live in a nursing home was averaging five grand a month for full round the clock care. How I know that little bit of information is simply because that was the bill I received every month for my father with Alzheimer’s Disease. Till we were forced to sell his home, which went entirely from the lawyers hand to the nursing home for his care. We were lucky with Blaire House of Worcester for Dad. Many other cared for elderly family or friends are not. What happens to the individual that gets placed in that home?

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
Nursing Home Abuse News

Watching our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles grow older has its own set of stresses. As those we love fall victim to the ailments of aging, we worry about our lives without them, all the while learning to provide care for them. We look to medicines, doctors, diets, vitamins—anything we can find—in hopes of keeping them healthy and happy and able to live as independently as they wish to. When finally the complications get too great, we turn to an assisted living, nursing home, or other long-term care facility to continue the thoughtful and conscientious care we are no longer able to provide.

Many of these facilities provide excellent care, however, far too many do not. Often understaffed with underpaid and poorly trained employees, many nursing homes push the bottom line so far that they endanger the lives of their patients.

Neglected, abused, and threatened, nursing home residents may suffer physically and emotionally. Painful bedsores, broken bones, or even premature death can result from neglectful and outright abusive treatment.
- Nursing Home Abuse

What about the Betty’s that live just next door into their nineties that do not need a nursing home and still want to live their days out in their own damn home? We need to think of people like her or for that matter ourselves because the simple fact is that you or I will be in that position eventually. Would you want to be kicked out of your home because your home was taken for back property tax bills?

Don’t get me wrong, I give full credit to all of our nations senior citizens that work every single day. God bless them for being able to do so. One of my friends and co-workers is eighty four, another is seventy four. There is a difference to what these two friends are doing and what this program is all about. This work for property taxes can work for some people but it is not a fix all for blindly abusing the elderly. Did these people not live through the worst times our nation has ever seen and survived? It sickens me as a political opinion writer to think that anyone could have any argument against giving elderly retired homeowners living below poverty level any kind of break but feel free to speak your peace.

As much as America needs to protect its children with the full diligence that they deserve we need to do the same for our aged and elderly. That is a direct reflection on our society and way of life as a people. We all know that we can do better for all of our senior citizens. Should I mention that senior citizens vote too? That probably isn’t supposed to be relevant when it comes to this topic. I happen to think it is. Everyone forty and younger forget that I wrote that part. All of you forty and older bookmark this page. Maybe we should take back America by taking care of our Grandparents and elder neighbors first.
This liberal stands by all senior citizens no matter what political affiliation and will bitch the loudest when it comes to protecting them. They were the ones that paid the ultimate sacrafice and you can never forget that fact. What freedoms we enjoy today were bought and paid for by the previous generation. Maybe we should look to them as to what really being an American is all about?

In the words of former President Ronald Reagan, “As I fade into the sunset of my life…”

Papamoka
Cross posted at Bring IT ON! And Michael Linn Jones
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2 Comments:

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5:05 PM  
Anonymous clarksburg said...

Elder Abuse is difficult to spot, however when it is found it should be heavily punished!! Families put faith in people to look after the older relatives and people tackle advantage of the persons frail nature and trust put in them by the family! if someone is found guilty of elder abusethey should punishable in the same fashion a doctor is for medical negligence, however it should be remembered that elderly abuse is intentional and maliciously carried out!

5:52 AM  

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