TO THE EDITOR: Recent coverage of property-tax issues has prompted me to ponder the fairness, even the legitimacy, of such taxation.
In Clinton County, a property owner whose taxes are two years in arrears will have their property confiscated by the county and sold at auction. The legal owner may rescue his deed if he pays off back taxes (plus interest, fees, and penalties) 45 days before the auction (recently reduced from 90 days by the magnanimous generosity of the County Legislature).
Bear in mind that most counties allow property rescue up until a couple of days prior to auction. Clinton County is one of the few that chooses to make the situation much more difficult for a struggling property owner and much more profitable for Clinton County (and/or) the City of Plattsburgh.
Predictably, almost all government officials protest that they “really regret” profiting from the misfortunes of others (but not strongly enough to make them stop).
It seems that government in general, and Clinton County in particular, is heavily addicted to other people’s money. Consider that sales tax is charged when one buys property, yet one must pay another tax on on the same property, every year — even if the property is fully paid off. Failure to do so results in property confiscation.
Such a policy makes a mockery of the term “ownership.” What citizen of sound mind would knowingly agree to legalize seizure of his property? Was this voted into law by our “representatives” in government?
I see no rational justification for such a modified protection racket — except from the perspective of the government that legalized it because it needs the money. All thieves have needs.