Monday, January 19, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Tax Edition

Last night's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition took place in Quincy Township, PA, which is only five minutes up the road from us. I actually saw a friend of ours from church on there. The company he works for was hired to haul away the trash from the demolition.

Normally I don't watch that show, but it was kind of cool to hear all those central PA accents. The bad part was that I started thinking about this poor family's financial situation and I just got scared for them.

See, in PA we have taxes - lots of them. There are the state taxes, the local taxes, and the township taxes. And some of those are based on property value. I started to wonder how these people, who clearly have almost no money, are going to afford the taxes for their amazing new house. And will they have to pay federal income tax on the value of all the stuff they were given? Like that new car?

And then there are the utility bills. These people had no heat or air conditioning before. Now they have both, which is wonderful, but I don't know if they've thought about the utility bills. Last month at our rental house, which is vacant, we left a little portable heater running in the basement to keep the pipes from freezing. Nothing else in the house was on. The electric bill was $90.

I've heard before of people who got these makeovers losing their house because they couldn't afford the taxes. Does anyone know if ABC cares? I mean, if they got the crowd of 4000 people to each give one dollar to the family, that would cover at least some of the taxes. Do they bother? Do they even check the family's finances to see if they can afford the bills they'll have?

I hope I don't see this family in the local paper a year from now. Or an ad announcing a tax sale on their lovely new house.


  1. I wonder about that, too, when I watch these shows.

  2. I've only watched that show a few times myself-all the screaming drives me nuts! But I've thought the same thing myself. They build mega-houses that 6 figure salaries couldn't pay to cool and heat, then the's crazy.

    Then I wonder ABC makes them sign that they'll stay in the house...if not I'd put that puppy on the market the next day, buy something I can actually afford and pocket anything left over!