For those who want to push an agenda, conducting a bogus study would seem a pretty sure fire way to drum up a little publicity.
Recently the Press Herald came ran a story reporting on the Portland Chamber’s stern warning on the Portland economy.
The story was essentially a rant against Portland’s high property tax rate. Homeowners, the study dismayed, are paying more than the national average for total housing costs.
Renters, on the other hand, are right at the national average.
The recommendation of the report is to bring more high-paying jobs to Portland. Who can argue with that? But if we are talking about housing costs, it may behoove the authors to take a moment to visualize the supply, demand, and price lines on a graph: Lo! If incomes increase and supply remains stable then–the prices go up! Naturally the only way to lower housing prices is to increase supply.
Whinging over property taxes might is not like complaining over the high cost of repairs to one’s Jaguar–it is worse. The biggest piece of the property tax pie goes to schools. Without this sizable allocation, Maine could expect to have a school system on par with other poor states such as Alabama. As it stands our schools are much better even by the most cynical standards.
The bulk of the balance of the taxes are paid out to police and public services, two agencies who spend quite a lot of time protecting and supporting private property.
Keep Portland Livable got deep into the analysis with a post on their site: