property tax

A Deep Dive into Property Taxes

Joan Youngman, senior fellow and chair of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s Department of Valuation and Taxation, recently wrote a book covering property taxes in depth. In A Good Tax: Legal and Policy Issues for the Property Tax in the United States, Youngman defends property taxes as a more powerful revenue source than the federal income tax (generating $472 million and $297 million, respectively, from 2005 to 2015) and a vital support for independent local government.

Youngman argues that property taxes should be stable, efficient, fair, and transparent to maintain their status as a “good” tax. Limits on property tax assessment, such as the limit created by Proposition 13, generate problematic consequences, like rewarding longtime property owners at the expense of recent purchasers.

Proposed changes for Proposition 13 are at least being discussed. One source with good ideas is the Better Institutions blog. Will the ideas of Youngman and Better Institutions find open ears in Sacramento?

RSG can help you to analyze the impact of new legislation. Contact us for more details.

Written by Dima Galkin, an Associate at RSG

 

An Introduction to Property Tax

Property taxes give state and local governments a dependable source of revenue to help pay for public schools, roads, parks, public safely, and government administration. Levied at every level of local government, from state to county to special districts, property taxes pay for public services. These taxes are often complex and not well understood.

Public schools are often the biggest line item for receiving funding from property taxes. Because the U.S. government contributes about 10 cents to every dollar spent on K-12 education, most of the money that pays for education comes from state and local governments. Thus, schools are highly dependent on the property wealth of a community.

In California, property tax is one of the largest taxes paid. Sometimes, Californians pay more in property taxes and charges than they do in state personal income taxes. Property tax is unpopular among taxpayers, partly because it varies between regions. Different assessments for similar properties seem unfair, and the tax may burden fixed-income property owners in high-growth areas.

RSG analyzes, projects, and explains property tax revenues for local government organizations to assist with budgeting, upholding the specifications in their tax sharing agreements, and presenting information to the public.

Written by Evanne Holloway, a Research Assistant at RSG