Moving Thanksgiving By a Week? And Taxes on Commercial Property

November 21, 2012

On behalf of the state policy team at the Tax Foundation, I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving holiday! We're very thankful of the continuing praise and support we've gotten from you as we've worked to bring about simple, sensible tax policies at the state level.

In case you want a break from family conversation over turkey and stuffing, be sure to check out our new report on disproportionate property tax treatment of commercial and industrial property versus residential property. While residential property is the majority of U.S. property values, state and local governments collect 56 percent of their property taxes from commercial and industrial property, often through higher rates or assessment practices. These are taxes we all pay as consumers, workers, and shareholders, and can lead to residential property owners not paying the full cost of the public services they're demanding.

Abraham Lincoln once cautioned, "Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another." By heavily taxing commercial and industrial property to benefit residential property, state and local governments are doing precisely that. A better approach would be property tax systems that tax all property alike.

I'll leave you with one last quotation, from Unknown: "A person doesn't know how much he has to be thankful for until he has to pay taxes on it." Have a great holiday!

P.S. – Thanksgiving was once moved by a week in the hopes of boosting retail sales. It failed to boost sales (instead just shifting them), just as sales tax holidays shift sales rather than boosting them. A Thanksgiving lesson for policymakers!

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