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The City Café

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

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Property taxes have now caught up with increasing home values not only across the nation, but even here in Utah. According to New Jersey assemblyman, John McKeon property tax issues are “issues No. 1, 2, and 3” for his residents. New Jersey isn’t unique, at least 21 states are currently working on property tax cuts or shifts for the upcoming or current session. And apparently the same sentiment is brewing here. Last I checked there were 6 bill files here in Utah opened to do the same thing.

However, fortunately Utahns are in a pretty good place with comparably low property tax burdens. According, to a recent Utah Foundation study property tax is the least burdensome tax or fee Utahns pay — Utah’s property tax burden ranks 37th (Utah Foundation State and Local Tax Burden). According to a recent article by Money magazine Utah’s property tax burden (for a family of three making $100,000) is around $1,400 below the national average. Tax-friendly places 2007

Last week the Deseret News editorial board articulated a great article opposing shortsighted property tax caps or reforms. You can read the full editorial here: Utah’s Property Tax System Isn’t Broke. Here is an excerpt…

“Before state lawmakers begin tinkering with the way counties levy and assess property taxes, they need to take a deep breath, then wait for the urge to disappear…the truth is, Utah already has a strict and fair system of keeping a lid on property tax rates. If anything, a few counties need to tweak the way they assess properties, nothing more.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Hopefully, before we move toward restricting property tax even more we carefully evaluate the potential effects of shifting revenue dependency. The reality is property tax caps usually result in increases for other taxes or fees–taxes and fees which in Utah are already relatively high.

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