Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Forced Out

On top of everything else going on in our lives, we will be moving August 1-5 or so . . . Carlos is selling the house because his taxes are too high. Our new home will be right accross the street from the old one. . we will have the first floor and basement of the house accross the street, which also belongs to Carlos and Marta - they lived there when they first got married. He has just finished rehabbing it, it has a new kitchen, dishwasher, washer/dryer, back porch, back yard, deck on top of the garage, for $300 more a month. It will be a little tight moneywise, but it is about twice the square footage of this apartment - it's a one bedroom (twice as large as the bedroom now) with a walk-in closet and a storage room . . . two bathrooms . . . we will sign a longer-term lease for at least 2 years, so we will be locking in a really good deal. I couldn't be more excited.

Carlos getting forced out is part of the rapid "gentrification" or whatever of the neighborhood. The real culprit is property taxes, which, for the millionth time, are socially destructive, regressive, and just a lousy way to fund government services. Your taxes should go up when your income goes up, not because the house you've owned for 15 years is suddenly worth more because crime has gone down and you have richer neighbors. People like Carlos have worked to make this neighborhood better, he is a landlord providing decent, affordable apartments to working people like us, and government policy is screwing him over for the crime of not converting his real estate into high-end condos for dotcom ditzes and boomer empty-nesters. Carlos is an airline pilot and Marta has a professional job - how rich do you have to be to survive in Chicago now? Clearly no one will be able to offer decent affordable housing in the city unless tax laws are changed. People complain about personal income taxes but concerning the alternatives (property taxes, sales taxes, Norquistian anarchy) they are the least bad alternative.

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