Property tax insight

For those of you who have the pleasure of paying property taxes, this is a good explanation of localities’ needs and methods for determining their millage rates.

The key insight here is that aggregate real estate tax rates are set simply to cover the locality’s budget.  There is no ‘fair,’ ‘equitable,’ or ‘normal’ real estate tax rate.  It all depends on two things:

How much the locality wishes to spend
How much local voters are willing to tolerate as their individual tax burdens.

Here are the local mil rates for Central Virginia.

Aargh. Government is the only “business” that I know of that seems to determine how much they need, and then they go out and take it.

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2 Comments

  1. TrvlnMn January 8, 2006 at 04:19

    Jim wrote:

    Aargh. Government is the only “business” that I know of that seems to determine how much they need, and then they go out and take it.

    And worst yet… our local government seems to function under the misguided perception that “government is like a business and should be making a profit.”

  2. Ray Hyde January 8, 2006 at 21:21

    Voters pay their taxes every year, but they only get to throw the bums out every four years. Some locations are proposing staggered terms, so it would take 20 years to throw the bums out. In the meantime, the increasing assessments are apowerful incentive for rate setters to take a piece of the action.