December 15, 2014

New Report Compares the Property Tax Burden Among the States

In 2013, the median-value home in Bridgeport bore the highest tax burden when compared to such homes in the nation’s other urban areas, according to a latest annual report comparing property tax burdens across the nation. The report, which was prepared by the Minnesota Center For Fiscal Excellence and the Lincoln Land Institute, measured tax burdens by comparing the amount of taxes paid on a property against the property’s resale value.
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Applying this measure, the report found that the New England region, with its heavy reliance on the property tax to fund municipal services, had the highest residential property tax burden, followed closely by Midwestern urban areas and Mid-Atlantic rural areas. The burdens were lowest in the South and West.

So, should we all move to Georgia or Arizona? Not so fast. The property tax is just one component of a state’s overall tax system. Some states, for example, allow municipalities to levy sales, income, and other taxes besides property taxes. Consequently, “some locations have relatively high property tax levies because those local governments are more dependent on ‘own-source’ revenue (revenue they raise themselves) or have limited non-property tax options available to them,” the report stated. Other factors that mitigate residential property tax burdens include levying income and sales taxes to fund local government and policies that require some types of property, such as factories and shopping malls, to bear more of the burden than homes and apartments.