New Analysis on Property Taxes by County

May 17, 2011

Today we released a new report on property tax burdens nationwide by analyst Nick Kasprak, “New York, New Jersey Lead Nation in Property Tax Burden,” which uses the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau to rank virtually all counties nationwide. Not surprisingly, several counties in New York and New Jersey come out on top of this list. Both states are known for their high state and local tax burdens in general (#2 and #1, respectively), and their high property taxes in particular.

The new report ranks counties on three different metrics; by median property taxes paid on homes, by median property taxes as a percentage of median home values, and by median property taxes as a percentage of median household income. Without further delay, the #1 counties in America for property tax burdens are: Hunterdon County, New Jersey for median property taxes, Orleans County, New York for taxes as a percentage of median home value, and Passaic County, New Jersey for taxes as a percentage of median household income.

The data used to calculate these rankings comes from the American Community Survey, which has now been around long enough to provide five-year averages for the period 2005-2009. The larger number of survey responses and correspondingly larger sample sizes included in this five-year period allows estimates to be calculated for every county (or county-level entity) in the United States. Previously, these data releases were limited to one-year or three-year averages, and the lower sample sizes for these releases meant that only mid- to high-population counties were included.

This data should come in handy as property tax debates are raging in the states. Gov. Cuomo has recently been barnstorming the Empire State trying to whip up support for a property tax cap, and there is a proposal to restructure the property tax in the Garden State as well (although our own economist Mark Robyn is skeptical on the merits of that particular plan).

Tax Foundation data being used to make a point about high property tax rates, of course, will be nothing new. As residents of Niagara County, New York might remember from a few years back, one local activist was so incensed about his local rates that he paid for a highway billboard to raise awareness of the issue:

property tax billboard

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