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Guest Editorial: Do U.S. Citizens Really Own Their Homes?

December 19th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

By  Paul Arman III

Every year in the United States (U.S.), people are forced into homelessness because of their inability to pay real estate tax.  Every year hundreds of parcels of land are auctioned off for back taxes at the St. Louis County courthouse.  Age is no barrier to this onslaught; even the elderly are susceptible to this victimization.  As if sheep led to slaughter, people pay real estate taxes without question.  What options are available to those who cannot afford to pay the tax?  Is it constitutionally legal?  Who does not have to pay?  Is it the land owners’ responsibility to educate the public through real estate taxes?  How is it legal then, for the government to extort ransom from its citizens by holding their homes as ransom to pay real estate taxes?  What does the land of the free mean? What happens to those whose homes are confiscated by the government, and sold for unpaid real estate taxes?

The United States Constitution states that its citizens have the right to be secure in their homes (Amendment IV).  Yet the threat of having their homes taken constantly looms over their heads as a hostage to pay a real estate tax.  Webster’s College Dictionary 10th Edition states that ‘hostage’ is “a person taken by force to secure the taker’s commands.”  In this situation, the home is hostage for the real estate tax.  The real estate tax became law through legislation in the State of Missouri for the assessment tax on real estate in 1820.   A phone interview with Richard Robison of the St. Louis County assessor’s office revealed that six hundred forty parcels of land were auctioned off for back taxes in 2007.  This sale takes place on the fourth Monday of August every year.  According to www.stlouisco.com in 2011, approximately eight hundred thirty parcels were auctioned off for back taxes.  The properties that do not sell are held over until the next August, and if not sold then, they are held until the next August sale.  If after three times the property fails to sell, the property is turned over to a trustee who tries to sell them privately.  During all this time, the taxes still accumulate year after year along with penalties and interest.  Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that if a person’s property is seized, the person from whom it is taken is to be justly compensated for the value of said property, according to due process.  The people who lose their homes for back taxes receive absolutely nothing at all.  For example, if a person has $70,000 invested in their home when it is seized and sold, they get no compensation even though Article XIV of the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law.  Article V guarantees the right to be justly compensated. When asked what happens to those who lose their homes Robison said, “I don’t  know, there is no record kept of what happens to the occupants once the property is sold.”  Thus another issue occurs: there is no record kept of what happens to these people and their possessions once ejected from their homes.  The U.S. Constitution protects its citizens from cruel and unusual punishment (VIII Amendment).  What could be crueler than a family being forced out of their home by a government that guarantees the right to be secure in their home?  As a matter of record, not all of the properties seized are occupied; a small percent have been abandoned or foreclosed on.

The argument is that the money goes to public education and for public services, i.e. police and fire protection, sewer lines, zoo, libraries and parks.  However, the biggest portion of the real estate tax goes to support public schools.  It is a beautiful blessing to be educated and advantageous to society as a whole, is the argument raised to justify the portion of real estate tax which supports the public schools.  How can it be legal for a person to pay child support for children they did not sire or adopt?  In essence, this is what the school tax imposes on innocent citizens. Read more…

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  • 1 Doug Aegerter // Dec 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    BRAVO! Paul Arman III. BRAVO!

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