A Monologue with the Æther

Why Property Tax?

While I haven’t spent much energy nor effort to find the origins of the rationale behind property tax, my logical thought on the subject follows this path. For much of human history involving active agriculture, husbandry, etc., property, wealth, and income were essentially the same. That is to say that the crops or animals raised on the land were the income. Looking at history, one sees many examples of taxes to be paid stated in terms of bushels of grain or heads of cattle; don’t believe me consider that the root of the word, pecuniary, is cattle. Here is the definition, or you could look it up for yourself.

of, relating to, or consisting of money

New Oxford American Dictionary

All of which begs the question, why, in the United States of America, do we still pay property tax when most of the property owned by the typical payer generates no income. I’m writing about things like homes, personal vehicles, recreational water craft, etc. Why do we tax these things? If we want to capture revenues to support our counties, why not just do away with the property tax and switch to taxing actual income generated by the properties or people occupying and using them?