The Rising Price of Civilization

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously opined: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization." Right, but that price is rapidly rising. Might we be paying for more "civilization" than we can afford? When I filed my 2013 Personal Property Declaration with Jackson County, Missouri, I noticed that most of what the county assesses concerns transportation -- automobiles, boats, motorcycles, RVs, airplanes, and the like. My declaration was for "all the tangible personal property made taxable by the laws of the state of Missouri, which I owned or which I had under my charge or management on the first day of January." So if it's late in the year, smart Missourians postpone buying a vehicle until after New Year's Day. That way they won't have to pay property taxes for an entire year on a car they owned only at the end of the year. (Buying a new car in late December is something an émigré from Kansas might do.) The county also needs to know the "market value of all farm machinery...(Read Full Article)

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