According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the nation's local governments will collect an estimated $476 billion in property taxes in 2010--almost double total state income tax revenues of $250 billion and considerably more than total sales tax revenues of $286 billion. That means property tax revenues are 66% higher than sales tax revenues--$190 billion more a year.
A decade ago, property taxes were roughly equivalent to sales taxes. In 2000, property taxes totaled $247 billion and sales taxes came in at $223 billion-- a differential of roughly 10%. Sales taxes have increased by 28% since 2000-- roughly in line with the rise in consumer prices (as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Property taxes, meanwhile, have far outstripped inflation, soaring from $247 billion in 2000 to $476 billion in 2010--a gargantuan increase of $229 billion, or 92%.
State income taxes have risen nationally from $217 billion in 2000 to $250 billion in 2010, after peaking at $303 billion in 2008, just as the global financial meltdown began. That's a rise of $33 billion, or 15%--actually less than inflation, since income taxes have fallen substantially in the recession.
Add all this up and we can see that local governments have become far more dependent on property tax revenues than they were in 2000.
No wonder they're jacking up property tax rates.
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