from Skin Game. A Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher.
"There's power in the touch of another person's hand. We acknowledge it in little ways, all the time. There's a reason human beings shake hands, hold hands, slap hands, bump hands.
It comes from our very earliest memories, when we all come into the world blinded by light and colour, deafened by riotous sound, flailing in a suddenly cavernous space without any way of orienting ourselves, shuddering with cold, emptied with hunger, and justifiably frightened and confused.
And what changes that first horror, that original state of terror?
The touch of another person's hands. Hands that wrap us in warmth, that hold us close. Hands that guide us to shelter, to comfort, to food. Hands that hold and touch and reassure us through our very first crisis and guide us into our very first shelter from pain.
The first thing we ever learn is that the touch of someone else's hand can ease pain and make things better.
That's power. That's power so fundamental that most people never even realise it exists."
There's talk here lately of our government replacing stamp duty on home purchases with a yearly $1200 land tax instead.
Naturally, there's quite the hue and cry about this.
People who purchased a home many years ago, or even quite recently, have already paid their stamp duty. Now they're going to have to pay a yearly land tax as well?
Unfair you say? Seems unfair to me too.
Stamp duty on home purchases is quite steep here in South Australia, on a home worth $400,000 it's around $15,000.
I read the real estate pages every Saturday, planning which house I might buy in which area should I be lucky enough to win lotto, (*~*) and I've noticed house prices are quite high. There's not a lot around for $400,000 if you want to live close to the city, or in a good neighbourhood. In those areas you're likely to pay $600-$800,000, with $22,500 to $30,000 added in stamp duty.
It seems like a lot of extra money and I've been against stamp duty for a long time, the GST was supposed to replace it and of course that didn't happen.
I'm not the only person to be against stamp duty and certain government departments or persons (I don't really know who) have decided that the stamp duty is stopping many people from buying or building a new home or in the case of younger couples, their first home.
This is where the 'new and improved' idea comes in. Abolish the stamp duty and hit them with a yearly land tax instead.
So I got out my trusty calculator and did a sum or two. $1200 over a lifetime in a home of your own, say 35 years, is $42,000. More than stamp duty, but not by much, which makes it seem a fairer deal.
But, it's a cost that will have to be factored in to the yearly budget on top of the mortgage, whereas the aforementioned stamp duty is added to the original purchase and factored into the monthly or fortnightly mortgage payments.
So which is the better deal? A one off stamp duty? Or a never ending yearly land tax?
It depends on how long you stay in your home.
If you buy your home and never move again, you could end up paying much more in land tax than you would have in stamp duty.
If you buy and move several times a yearly land tax might be a cheaper option.
The biggest problem I can see, lies with people who already own their home or are paying off a mortgage which includes the stamp duty. There needs to be a dated cut-off point and an exemption from the new land tax for those already owning or having a mortgage in place.
It just isn't right to hit them with a land tax as well.
One solution could be a set date where new purchases do not incur stamp duty, but the yearly land tax instead.
Of course, the land tax idea hasn't yet been decided on, perhaps the stamp duty will remain instead.
It's all a bit of a headache isn't it? I wouldn't want to be the person who finally decides one way or the other and has to announce that decision to the general public.
Unless that decision exempts those who already own etc.
An easier decision might be to lower the amount of stamp duty we pay here in SA.
Why is it so high anyway??
In Queensland stamp duty is only $6,000.