Today I’ve mused quite a bit about both how much I hate Dallas and also about a small constitutional question. I accidentally bought a Dallas Morning News instead of an Austin-American Statesman today at lunch, and this article was on the center of the front page. This was my first clue that I had bought a Dallas newspaper because it was an article pandering to the old and the rich rather than an interesting or relevant demographic. Old, rich, and uninteresting describe Dallas pretty well. I know because I’ve lived there.
The gist of the article is that the city has decided to raise property taxes by 6.6 percent and also by removing an exemption of $69,000 from the minimum taxable value of a home. However, any resident aged 65 or elder currently enjoying this exemption remains exempt. This means that basically, they get a tax cut for being old. A quick Google search revealed that Congress too likes to play at age discrimination even though they made agism illegal for anyone who isn’t the government.
I don’t understand at all how that falls under the equal protection provision of the14th Amendment. I don’t see much difference between agism and racism. If racist legislation is a big 14th Amendment faux pas, agism should be too.
I could understand the city allowing a tax cut for the retired elderly who have a miniscule income and who honestly can’t afford the tax increase. The progressive nature of our income tax affirms this reasoning. However, a blanket tax cut based on age for the millionaires and destitute alike is clearly unfair and is likely unconstitutional.
Maybe it’s just because I’m still in college, but I don’t like being punished just for being young. I’m already paying into a social security system that I’ll never benefit from, and I don’t see why old people and oil companies get all the tax breaks.