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Profit and policy

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2005 — [letter to the editor]

Editor,

Nancy McGaraghan is half right (Weekly, Aug. 17). Why should a merchant or landlord double his profit but not share in the expense that increases the property value? Why should anybody sell his house for a million-dollar profit when the increase in value has been paid for by others?

This unfairness should be addressed by a two-tier assessment policy, by having the residential tax break limited to one property per owner, and by recouping the entire tax differential when the property is sold. These improvements would be acceptable to any fair-minded person, especially if they also included extending the Prop. 58 tax break to grandchildren and siblings.

Public policy is more benign than when the counties transferred property by handing the formerly Mexican owners tax bills they couldn't pay, and holding tax sales so Anglo newcomers could own it.

We recognize that a town dominated by rich people is going to spend millions on amenities that ordinary folk don't need, for instance, undergrounding utilities, avant-garde public art, huge administrative salaries and demolition of serviceable buildings.

The part of "affordable housing" most of us understand is that we expect to be able to afford to live in our homes that we've saved and sacrificed and paid for and worked on for all our lives. We don't understand why anybody, however much he paid for his house, objects to paying one percent of it a year in tax, and getting a guarantee that his taxes will not rise proportionately to inflation.
Stephanie Munoz
Alma Street
Palo Alto