Monday, September 10, 2007

should have known I would consume

... property rates have always seemed like a bad idea to me. It's a tax that only falls on a subset of citizens within the council's area (e.g. I, as a renter, pay no council fees, except theoretically through my landlord - though how much my landlord can recover from me depends on the ups and downs of the rental market), it takes little or no account of income (so if your locked-in capital far exceeds your income, you have to liquidate your property and live somewhere else), and if you're a dyed-in-the-wool neo-con, it also ignores your actual usage of council resources.

For my money I'd prefer to abolish rates completely and swap them for a range of targeted usage fees (water, waste water - with appropriate caps or rebates so as to not disadvantage low-income families, development fees, etc) and an increase in income taxes. I haven't run the numbers, but I would expect that the extension of the revenue base would mean that the PAYE rates would not need to be too large to replace property rates income.

This still isn't a perfect solution by any means - once you centralise council revenue under the general income tax take, councils suddenly have lost most of their control over their own finances, and therefore their ability to fund projects of concern to their constituents (of course, some people might see this as an advantage - councils can also no longer indulge in the vanity projects they seem particularly enamoured of. **cough** stadiums **cough**). You also have to work out how to allocate the taxation revenue - as no longer can the money you receive be easily tied back to a geographical area as easy as it was when you were levying the tax on a property which is fixed in space.

What I'm Watching:
The Power of Nightmares, by Adam Curtis. All three chapters (each about an hour long, and 1Gb in size) can be downloaded from here. Bloody interesting, and the kicking-est-ass soundtrack ever (cf the soundtrack to John Carpenter's The Thing).

A great slice of geek legend over at Arstechnica - A History of the Amiga, parts
1, 2 & 3 (it's not finished yet, they've been teasing us by rolling out a new part every 1-2 weeks).

Articles that caught my eye lately:
Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked

First kiss can make or break a couple’s relationship - but hey, no pressure ...

Zango tries, fails to sue its way out from under the "spyware" label

Internet use 'can cause insomnia' - colour me surprised. So who should I be suing?

Printer health risk report triggers response from HP, researchers - no really. Who can I sue about this?

See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign

Scan This Guy's E-Passport and Watch Your System Crash - Nice. Reeeeal nice.

How do I get myself one of these?
The Great Tennessee Marijuana Cave - I just like secret caverns under houses, that's all. No other reason.

My favorite word today: Algorithm. I've no idea why.

They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do just as well … you just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.

Not all drugs are good. Some … are great. - Bill Hicks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have always been able to pay my rates on a monthly basis so I've never had to worry about the one lump sum once a year.

I also like that regions get a little autonomy when it comes to the way they spend their funds - allows for individual identity (althought, yeah staduim spending is a little frustrating).

One thing I do like about your proposal is the idea that rates would be distributed over all tax payers, rather than just property owners. While many property owners can totally afford it - we young families barely getting bye could do with any help to lessen our financial burdains.

Would be interresting to know exactly that the tax hike would be if we went with your model :)