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Friday, October 01 2010

Using U.S. Census data, the nonprofit Tax Foundation has uncovered where the highest property taxes in the country are paid relative to the median value of the homes. Some of the locales may surprise you.

New Jersey came in first — no surprise there — but New Hampshire, which has no state income tax and prides itself on that, had the next-highest real estate taxes as a percentage of home values.

Louisiana had the lowest median taxes compared to property values, another ho-hum finding. But the second-lowest taxes compared to values are in pricey Hawaii.

The national median for real estate taxes is 1.04 percent of a property’s value. Here’s the list of the top 10 states with the highest median real estate taxes as a percentage of median home value as well as the ranking of states with the lowest:

States with the highest taxes:

1. New Jersey (1.89 percent of property value)
2. New Hampshire (1.86 percent)
3. Texas (1.81 percent)
4. (tie) Wisconsin (1.76 percent)
4. (tie) Nebraska (1.76 percent)
6. Illinois (1.73 percent)
7. Connecticut (1.63 percent)
8. Michigan (1.62 percent)
9. Vermont (1.59 percent)
10. North Dakota (1.42 percent)

States with the lowest taxes:

1. Louisiana (0.18 percent)
2. Hawaii (0.26 percent)
3. Alabama (0.33 percent)
4. Delaware (0.43 percent)
5. West Virginia (0.49 percent)
6. South Carolina (0.50 percent)
7. (tie) Arkansas (0.52 percent)
7. (tie) Mississippi (0.52 percent)
9. New Mexico (0.55 percent)
10. Wyoming (0.58 percent)

Source: 2009 U.S. Census Data and Tax Foundation calculations

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, January 12 2010

An approval in the Indiana House Monday means voters in Indiana will likely have a say on whether property tax caps should go into the constitution.

The General Assembly is considering a constitutional amendment that would cap residential property tax rates at 1% of the home's value, agriculture at 2%, and business property at 3%.
The House passed the amendment 75-to-23.

From southwestern Indiana Democrats Dennis Avery, Trent Van Haaften, Kreg Battles, and Russ Stilwell voted against it.

Democrat Gail Riecken joined Republicans Mark Messmer and Suzanne Crouch in voting "yes."
If the Senate passes the resolution, which is expected, the issue will be on the November ballot.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 08 2009

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana House committee heard arguments Monday on whether caps on property tax bills should be placed in the state constitution, and the panel plans to vote on the measure next week.

A Senate committee plans to vote on the legislation Tuesday. If approved by the full Legislature during the session that gets under way in earnest in January, voters would decide whether the caps should be constitutional. Supporters say this would make it more difficult for future legislatures to undo the limits.

Several people who spoke in favor of the legislation before the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday said it would give property owners certainty about their future tax bills. Opponents said the caps already are taking a hit on the revenue streams of local governments, and there should be no rush to make them permanent.

Under a law passed in 2008, property tax bills on homeowners this year were capped at 1.5 percent of their homes' assessed values, with 2.5 percent limits on rental property and 3.5 percent caps on business property. The caps are to be lowered to 1 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2010.

The caps are expected to save property owners about $465 million in 2010 and $488 million the next year, but that's money local governments and schools will not get as a result. Counties and a handful of large cities can raise local income taxes to help offset losses due to the caps.

The caps were passed as a result of large increases in property taxes that occurred in 2007 in many parts of the state. The increases were due to a variety of reasons, including spending hikes by local governments and a move to annual assessment changes based on sales price data of property.

Taxpayer Aaron Smith of Lebanon spoke in favor of the constitutional resolution.

"For some folks, permanently capped property taxes are the tipping point keeping them from having to make terrible choices between keeping their homes, life-enhancing medication and nutritious meals," he said.

Kristen Brown of Columbus, who said she was testifying solely as a taxpayer, had no sympathy for local officials concerned about their revenue.

"It is really important that we taxpayers have some sort of degree of financial control over what I believe is excessive spending at the local level," she said.

Some opponents said classes of property should not be treated differently. Others said more time and data about the effects of the caps is needed.

"When we see how fast the world is moving we need to be prudent and keep as many options open as possible rather than confining ourselves to the cement of a constitutional change, said Chuck Little, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said his city already has cut 70 employees because of lost revenue due to reductions in property tax money.

"Our constitution should only be changed after proper analysis and debate," he said. "The 1, 2, 3 percent caps have not even gone into effect, therefore we have not even debated the consequences because we haven't seen the impact."


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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