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The City Café

For those interested in sharing ideas and perspectives regarding local government.

I was intrigued when I grabbed the Deseret News this morning and saw the headline “Tax rates are jumping” and I admit I was pretty surprised to see that residents of Kanarraville would be paying $172.70 more in property taxes. So I did a little research and it appears to me that the property tax jump isn’t quite what Lee Davidson describes.

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First of all the first five cities mentioned by Davidson are also some of the cities with the lowest property tax rates in the state (bottom 10%). In addition in this analysis the Des News assumes a $200,000 home value to apply the rate to…this assumption is pretty high for at least 3 of the top 5 cities. For example, home values in Kanarraville (the lead city of the story) are closer to $100,000. And according to the latest census only 8 homes (which is also around 8%) in Kanarraville are valued at over $200,000. So what does this mean? It means the jump is closer to $50 or $60 annual increase for 92% of the city, not quite $172.

So in defense of Kanarraville and many of the other cities mentioned, their property taxes comparatively were already very low and the tax increase isn’t impacting most of their residents to the degree claimed in this article. Also, the city portion is still a minor percentage of the total tax bill.

To me this article does raise an interesting issue though…why are these government entities raising taxes? I think some of it has to do with the continuing discussion that while growth stimulates the economy it also comes at a cost (more infrastructure, more schools, more people to serve, etc).

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