Improving Property Tax Systems takes a look at property taxes today and evaluates the likely political impact. The article gets a bit humorous as Grover Norquist tries to claim that property taxes aren't really the problem:
Tax reformer Grover Norquist, whose Americans for Tax Reform group promotes smaller government and fewer taxes, predicts “taxes will be big in many states”? this election year. “Politicians say, 'We have a property tax problem.’ No. You have a tax problem. The property tax is the one that pinches.”?
The reality is actually quite a bit different. Property taxes are unpopular because they fluctuate with housing bubbles, causing insecurity; they've been increasing with state cuts to local governments; and because they're regressive. In fact, surveys confirm this:
“The property tax has always been one of the most visible, but also the least popular tax,”? said Gerald T. Prante, an economist at the Tax Foundation, which tracks state-by-state tax burdens. Prante pointed to the foundation’s 2006 survey of Americans’ attitudes about taxes that found 40 percent named the property tax “the worst tax.”?
In other words, Norquist's strawman politician is correct. In many states, there isn't a tax problem. There's a property tax problem. The solution is fixing property taxes and ensuring that the big corporations are paying their fair share. For more on making property taxes more fair, check out our recent Stateside Dispatch on the issue.