Soon, Only The Wealthy Will Be Able To Live Here

3 CENTS WORTH

October 16, 1991|By Russ Mullaly

We're supposed to be in a recession, right? You sure wouldn't know it here.

I still see building going on, and most of the places I'veseen going up are megabuck-type deals. Nothing "affordable," or whatI consider affordable, to the middle-income or lesser-heeled folks.

When I see an ad that says "from the low $230s," it's not low to me. Or how about "extraordinary value at $380,000." For whom? "Price reduced to $560,000" doesn't really help someone who makes, say, $20,000 a year.

And yet there are people buying these places.

The stuff that's being built in this county appears to be built with a buyer already lined up. With the way the economy is, and the way lendinginstitutions are holding onto their money lately, many houses are being built-to-order, rather than just to sit around waiting for a buyer.

It boggles the mind to wonder what sort of salaries of the folks make who are buying these places. What would you have to make per year to be able to afford a $600,000 home?

I have two points to make. No. 1: that the county at this rate will turn into a subdivision of only the rich. And No. 2: with all this expensive real estate beingpurchased, why do we have this tax revenue problem?

I guess, as some have been saying, all the middle- and low-income people will eventually be forced out of dear Howard County since they or their children won't be able to buy a house or move up to a larger house. (And have you looked at rental prices lately?) No one making under $100,000 per year will be able to make it here, unless they just stay in one place and make the best of it.

Where's all the tax money? I don't pretend to know anything about financial matters, but if we have all these big houses, aren't they all assessed and taxed? And what about all the folks making the megabucks salaries? Aren't they taxed?

It seems to me that there must be a lot of money being sheltered, or we need to take a look at the tax rates for the wealthy to see if they are paying their fair share. I'm sure a lot of economists would be happy to explain all this, but I probably still wouldn't understand it, since I don't have an MBA.

So there you have it, the big picture according to Mullaly. Will Howard County turn into the subdivision of the rich and famous? Will the county continue to cry about no revenuefrom taxes? Will the middle and lower classes become endangered species? Who's going to work at the McDonald's and Hardee's? Who's going to deliver the pizzas? Stay tuned.

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