States with high prop­erty taxes try to tackle the bur­den

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Charles Hurt

Amer­i­cans are pay­ing more prop­erty taxes to­day than ever be­fore, and sev­eral states, in­clud­ing New Jer­sey and New York, will at­tempt to lessen the grow­ing bur­den on home­own­ers in up­com­ing leg­isla­tive ses­sions.

“In the past five years, the in­crease in prop­erty-tax col­lec­tions has been nearly dou­ble the growth in per­sonal in­come,” wrote econ­o­mist Ger­ald Prante, who con­ducted a re­cent study of real-es­tate taxes na­tion­wide.

“What the fu­ture has in store for prop­erty taxes will largely be a func­tion of hous­ing prices, but lo­cal gov­ern­ments can stem the ris­ing tax bills in the process by low­er­ing the rates and not merely spend­ing the wind­fall rev­enue.”

The rate col­lected through prop­erty taxes rose just 2 per­cent from 1994 to 2000, ac­cord­ing to the study. Since 2000, that amount has shot up 27 per­cent.

The rock­et­ing rates, fu­eled by the rapid in­crease in res­i­den­tial home prices, are be­ing closely watched by anti-tax ad­vo­cacy groups such as Amer­i­cans for Tax Re­form.

“Too of­ten, tax-and-spenders try to lower prop­erty tax taxes by toss­ing more money to the bloat­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments,” said the group’s pres­i­dent, Grover Norquist. “How­ever, in­stead of leav­ing the tax­pay­ers alone, big spenders blow through the state money and come knock­ing on res­i­dents’ doors for even more.”

Mr. Norquist says he will be watch­ing closely and has never been afraid to cam­paign against politi­cians who don’t act ag­gres- sively enough to curb taxes and spend­ing.

He pointed to the “prop­erty tax revo­lu­tion” of the 1980s when the states of Mas­sachusetts and New Jer­sey at­tempted to rein in out-of-con­trol prop­erty taxes that had tested the pa­tience of prop­erty own­ers.

In Mas­sachusetts, law­mak­ers set about cap­ping lo­cal spend­ing in­creases. In New Jer­sey, law­mak­ers tried shift­ing the tax bur­den from prop­erty own­ers to state work­ers with an in­come tax.

To­day, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pro­vided by ATR, the bur­den on Mas­sachusetts prop­erty own­ers has fallen by 7.5 per­cent. New Jer­sey prop­erty taxes, mean­while, have in­creased 36 per­cent above the rate of in­fla­tion.

“As ex­pe­ri­ence in Mas­sachusetts demon­strates, prop­er­ty­taxes re­form must ad­dress the root prob­lem — out-of-con­trol spend­ing,” Mr. Norquist said. “Rather than shuf­fling tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars around and leav­ing the back door open for big spenders to sneak in more tax hikes, law­mak­ers should make sure that any re­form in­cludes tax­payer pro­tec­tions.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.