Widow’s House Sold By State … for Unpaid $6.30 Fine

Eileen Battisti owned a house in Beaver, PA. Her husband, who took care of their taxes, died in 2004. Since then, Eileen has been trying to keep up with her finances alone. It has been very difficult, and she has no one to help her apparently.

So she fell behind on her property taxes, to the tune of $235. After a few notices, she finally scraped together the funds and paid it off. Well, almost. She says she didn’t know about $6.30 in interest. The state sent a few other notices allegedly, but Eileen didn’t get the notices or she didn’t act on them fast enough.

One way or the other, the state decided to auction off her home. She owned it outright, and it was worth $280,000. The house was sold for $116,000. The state says most of that money will go to Eileen if her appeals are unsuccesful. I’m sure they will just get their $6.30 and give her the rest. Yeah. Sure they will. There are also attorney’s fees, closing costs, real estate commissions, and the rest, right? Surely it’s only fair the State get some of the sale price to cover those costs.

Disgusting. That’s what this is. Just plain disgusting. Property tax is inherently wicked. Widows and aged people, who own their homes because of hard work and faithfulness, should not ever have to pay a cent in property tax. The situation is abhorrent.

Many older couples, widows, and widowers are on a fixed income—either a pension or Social Security. They can’t afford when property values rise and their property taxes rise with them. So they either sell their homes (lame), go into reverse mortgage (very lame), or have their homes taken from them by the State (absolutely despicable).

You don’t own your house. You pay property tax every year, right? And if you don’t pay it, the government seizes your property. That’s kind of what the bank does when you don’t pay your mortgage. Because the bank technically has legal ownership of your house until your mortgage is paid off.

But you won’t ever pay off your mortgage with the State. It will always have final say over your property. Over everything, really. You want to fish the King’s fish or hunt the King’s deer? Or drive the King’s roads? You must pay for permission. And if you are caught without a license from the King, you will be punished. If you do anything wrong, you pay a fine to the King. Because any offense to the King’s laws is a personal affront to the King. No matter who you’ve hurt, the King is the main offendee.

We’re not free. We’re vassals of the State. We’re worse than vassals or serfs, actually. Because the State has made no covenant to do right by us. They take. They kill. They rob. They fine. They do what they want with what you’ve worked to earn. And there’s really nothing you can do about it.