Letters to the Editor

Hidden subsidies

A guest editorial by Mary Jane Melink I found very interesting. She made a great description why we have so many problems locally. The Longview Housing Authority owns hundreds of rental units on which it pays no taxes. The taxes they are exempt from include the property taxes which would support schools, police and fire protection. You can argue by avoiding paying for these services either, first the level of service provided by these agencies will be lower quality, or second landlords like me who must pay higher taxes will then pass the higher tax on as increased rent to our low-income renters.

My review of the Housing Authority cost of ownership and management of their rental units shows their expenses are higher than many of us private landlords. By not paying taxes and using government grants they can provide affordable rents to their residents even with higher costs. We who are paying taxes would be better off without the Housing Authority owning property, and our renters would see lower rents. When everyone pays taxes the cost of taxes will be less and everyone saves. My rental property cost of property taxes is about equal to one month’s rent a year.

If low rents are important, subsidies like HUD section 8 can continue. The city of Longview and the Longview School District can have line item subsidies rather than hidden subsidies in the form of free taxes. My true objection is hidden subsidies.

Bill Hallanger

Longview

Tax benefit

Scribes, bloviators, talking heads, friends, relations, those who have no influence at all: I ran these numbers by Heather Schlenger, second oldest daughter, mother of two, married to Dr. Chris Schlenger.

She lives in Stockton, California. She graduated from the esteemed Jesuit University of Santa Clara in California, No. 1 GPA in the School of Business the year she graduated.

She corrected me but I was close. It was the $18,000 standard deduction for the “head of household” in 2017 that I missed.

Now remember, the Wall Street Journal for years gave 10 CPA firms a fairly complex personal set of numbers and invariably got 10 different numbers, sometimes widely so.

You can look Heather’s pedigree up on the net. She’s pretty accomplished for 36 years old.

Tax due for two family circumstances: one married head of household, one single. Single tax figured at $55,000. Married figured at $60,000. Two kids each.

I’m assuming both circumstances take the standard deduction as these income levels aren’t all that high; $55,000 is a single parent with two children and $60,000 is married with two children. No big mortgages, no huge charitable contributions.

Comparing the same $55,000 income in 2017 and 2018, using the standard deduction and child tax credits, the tax due in 2017 is $3,983.78 while the tax refund for 2018 is $472.50. That’s $4,456.28 to the good for the single parent with two children in 2018, all things being equal.

Comparing the same $60,000 income in 2017 and 2018, using the standard deduction and child tax credits, the tax due is $3,632.50 while the tax due in 2018 is $48. That’s $3,584.50 to the good or $298 every month.

So exactly how is this bad for the middle class?

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose, Oregon