Yay! We’re Number 1 on another list!
The Lincoln Institute for Land Policy has come out with their list of communities with the highest tax rates, and El Paso almost swept it.
Here’s a brief summary of the awards ceremony:
“In the category Homestead Property Taxes for the Largest Fifty U.S. Cities: Median Valued Homes, With Assessment Limits, the winner is (may I have the envelope, please) . . . El Paso, Texas!”
“In the category Industrial Property Taxes for the Largest Fifty U.S. Cities, the winner is . . . El Paso, Texas!”
For Property Taxes on Apartment Buildings, we only took second place. That tax is especially punitive when you consider that apartment dwellers don’t get a homestead tax deduction, so all those property taxes that the landlords pay get built into the rent.
For Commercial Property, we came in third, but I’m sure the City Government is working on improving our ranking for this year.
Of course, there’s some wrinkles. If you take away the Assessment Limits on Homesteads, El Paso drops to second place, because El Paso doesn’t have Assessment Limits, and I guess Detroit (#1) does.
City Government tries to justify our high property tax rates because our property values are low. Our homestead property values are low because our supply of houses is high relative to the demand for houses here. It’s the same for Commercial and Industrial Properties.
But the truth is bigger than that. Another reason is that City Government never saw a boondoggle they didn’t like. So we’ve got a ballpark, and a streetcar, and a dozen other projects snapping at our heels like a pack of hungry pit bulls.
If only we could elect a mayor who would promise to Hold the Line on Taxes.