As we morph into a society increasingly obsessed with tracking its members and assembling as much personal private data as possible in mega-databases, I would never have dreamed that my Homestead Exemption would become a vehicle to gather personal data.
In an effort to thwart non-existent homestead fraud – and I say nonexistent because the letter comes with a qualifier that states, “as the receipt of this deduction becomes more beneficial, there is more incentive than ever for homestead fraud.” Not even a hint at existing fraud, just the fleeting possibility in the future.
To combat this nonexistent threat, the General Assembly passed a law that requires homeowners to re-verify their homestead exemptions. The unexpected request was included in the just-received tax bills and requires completion of a form that mandates inclusion of social security information and driver’s license information.
Now, I do understand social security numbers may very well be a part of verifying hometead exemptions. But, come on, driver’s license information? What possible link can a driver’s license have to verification of my homestead exemption?
It is bad enough that we can’t smile, can’t have “bangs” on our foreheads, can’t wear glasses – all to make it easier for the biometrics police to identify us. It is bad enough that by 2016, we will have to produce a stack of paper work just to get a driver’s license. It is bad enough that to fly, airports will – more and more – implement invasive x-ray strip-search technology.
And now, to add injury to insult, the government has figured out how to use the Homestead Exemption – for heaven’s sake – to gather more personal information.
The Department of Local Government Finance “will use this information to create tools that will help county officials eliminate homestead fraud.” Tools that do not even exist – to eliminate homestead fraud that does not exist.
I will ask again, what on earth does having a driver’s license have to do with taking a Homestead Exemption?
Author’s Note: The Sunday JG had an article about this topic. The argument is that people may have a driver’s license in another state and/or county and try to take advantage of duplicate homestead exemptions. No stats were provided as to actual fraud – only vague statements that it can be an issue, and, once in a while a violation is found. Sounds like overkill to catch a small number of violators. Sorry, still sounds to me like just one more way to track citizens.