When arguing against taxation (which, by the way, is theft), one of the most common rebuttals is the MUH ROADS argument. People who argue against involuntary taxation models will invariably get that ubiquitous rebuttal, so much so in fact that there are thousands and thousands, maybe even millions, of Muh Roads memes. My personal favorite is the one where a young couple cradles, lovingly a section of road.
Well, in San Francisco, the argument FOR taxation because of MUH roads has LITERALLY been stood on its head.
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The tony neighborhood of Presidio Terrace woke up one day in May to news, delivered to them through the mail, that their road had been sold LITERALY out from under them because…wait for it….wait for it….because the homeowner’s association hadn’t paid a $14 a month tax.
The road had been sold in an auction to a nice couple from San Jose California, Tina Lam and Michael Cheng. The couple bought the street for $90,000 in an auction run by the city. The city hoped to make $994 in the auction, but ended up making a lot more.
Of course, the residents are hopping mad that their road is no longer their road. Thanks to a failure to pay taxes, the road is no longer owed by the homeowners’ association, it’s owned by a nice couple from San Jose.
The homeowners association did not actually receive the tax bill. Instead, it was sent erroneously to an accountant that hadn’t work for the association since the 1980s. But still, the law’s the law, folks, so the city followed the letter of the law, and, as the city pointed out, the residents all knew this tax had to be paid, whether they were notified or not.
The sale happened in 2015 and the nice couple from San Jose has simply been quietly holding on to the property, until now, when they sent a letter to all the residents to see if they’d like to buy the property back.
Some of the options the nice couple from San Jose are considering are charging the ultra-private residents for parking on the street. Other options might include, if the residents don’t want to pay the fee, and thus don’t want to park on the street, opening up the street for non-residents to park on (for a fee, of course).
The residents say they think the nice couple from San Jose are simply bluffing to get them to pay up. We shall see. Chances that this sale will be reversed, however, are slim to none. Not even the powerful homeowners of Presidio Terrace will be able to force the city of San Francisco to fundamentally undermine the confidence of one of its tax sales.
From the perspective of those who argue that taxation is theft, nothing could be more sweetly ironical (real word, look it up, or don’t, just trust me) than a road being sold to a private party because taxes have not been paid.
So, the next time someone cries out MUH ROADS when you declare taxation is theft, just tell them the story of the road that got sold because taxes weren’t paid.