Property Tax Relief

May 19, 1978

Report Outline
Signs of Taxpayer Unrest
Evolution of Property Taxes
Outlook for Local Taxation
Special Focus

Signs of Taxpayer Unrest

Movement to Lower Real Estate Levies

The property tax is perhaps the least popular of all taxes. In a recent poll conducted by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations 33 per cent of the people questioned said their property taxes were unfair. Economists and taxpayers across the country agree that the system is badly in need of reform. Discontent over assessment practices and rising taxes is currently the focus of political debate in California, Massachusetts and several other states. In such cities as Philadelphia property tax relief has emerged as a national “grass-roots” issue. Californians, in statewide voting likely to influence the rest of the nation, will decide June 6 whether to impose drastic limits on property taxation.

Taxes on property — chiefly on real estate — are the principal sources of local revenues for such essential services as public schools and police protection. They accounted for 81 per cent of the $67.5 billion that local governments throughout America collected from taxpayers in 1976, the latest year for which such figures have been compiled by the Census Bureau. Property taxes rose from a yearly average of $168 per person in 1970 to $242 in 1975, the bureau further reported. As a national average, the share of personal income taken by these taxes has also been increasing. The Conference Board, an independent economics research organization, estimated that in 1977 the major state and local taxes (income, sales and property) siphoned off 9 per cent of Americans' income; federal taxes took about 14 per cent.

Although protests against property taxes have become a familiar feature of the American scene, local governments have rarely been in a position to push for tax cuts. But since 1970, most states have passed laws enabling municipal jurisdictions to reduce residential taxes. And recent local budget surpluses — in some cases the result of increased federal revenue sharing — have made tax reductions inevitable. Urban experts say that New York City's widely publicized battle against bankruptcy has averted public attention from the fact that many municipal treasuries are fatter than they have been in years.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Taxation
Jun. 28, 2013  Internet Shopping
Jan. 16, 1998  IRS Reform
Mar. 22, 1996  Tax Reform
Apr. 06, 1990  How Fair Is the Nation's Tax Burden?
Aug. 28, 1987  Taxing Business Services
Oct. 17, 1986  Tax Reform In The States
Sep. 28, 1984  Tax Debate: 1984 Election and Beyond
Mar. 19, 1982  Tax-Exemption Controversy
May 19, 1978  Property Tax Relief
Apr. 07, 1978  Tax Shelters and Reform
Feb. 10, 1971  Property Tax Reform
Mar. 26, 1969  Tax Reform Pressures
Mar. 24, 1965  Excise Tax Cuts and the Economy
Feb. 15, 1961  Flexible Taxation
Apr. 02, 1959  State Tax Problems
Apr. 23, 1958  Tax Reduction, 1958
Aug. 14, 1957  Fast Tax Write-Offs
Apr. 10, 1957  Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes
Sep. 12, 1956  Corporation Profits and Taxes in Prosperity
Mar. 16, 1954  Shares in Tax Relief
Nov. 21, 1953  Revision of Excise Taxes
Mar. 19, 1953  Federal-State Tax Relations
Oct. 01, 1952  European Taxes and Tax Evasion
Nov. 03, 1950  Excess Profits Tax
Feb. 01, 1950  Tax Loopholes
Jun. 04, 1949  Excise Taxes
Oct. 27, 1948  Postwar Sales Taxes
Aug. 29, 1947  Taxation of Family Income
Apr. 09, 1947  Income Tax Relief
Jan. 11, 1946  Taxation of Cooperatives
Oct. 16, 1945  Federal Taxes on Business
May 08, 1944  Postwar Taxes
Sep. 20, 1943  Sales Taxes
Dec. 05, 1941  New Taxes for Defense
Apr. 05, 1941  Taxation for National Defense
Feb. 28, 1941  Taxation of Alcoholic Beverages
Jan. 11, 1941  Exemptions from Taxation
Dec. 04, 1940  Federal Taxes and Defense Financing
Feb. 01, 1940  Sharing of Tax Revenues
Feb. 02, 1939  Turnover Taxes in the States
Nov. 05, 1937  Broadening of the Income-Tax Base
Jun. 17, 1937  Exemptions from Income Taxation
Apr. 05, 1937  Coordination of Federal and State Tax Systems
Dec. 19, 1936  Revision of Federal Tax on Capital Gains
Nov. 02, 1936  State Taxation of Natural Resources
May 26, 1936  Assessment of Property for Taxation
Apr. 17, 1936  Federal Taxes on Consumption
Mar. 19, 1936  Taxation of Undistributed Corporate Profits
Dec. 17, 1935  Reduction of Tax Burdens on Real Estate
Oct. 21, 1935  Tax Delinquency in the United States
May 21, 1935  Comparative Tax Burdens in America and Britain
Feb. 01, 1935  Federal Taxation of Corporations
Nov. 27, 1934  Elimination of Conflicts in Taxation
Jul. 25, 1933  Taxation of Excess Profits
Jan. 25, 1933  Tax Burdens and Tax-Free Securities
Nov. 23, 1932  The Beer Tax and the Sales Tax
Dec. 19, 1931  Sales Taxes: Federal, State, and Foreign
Sep. 18, 1931  Death Taxes and the Concentration of Wealth
Mar. 18, 1931  Federal Taxation of Large Incomes
Jan. 10, 1931  Taxation of Capital Gains
Nov. 09, 1929  Federal Tax Reduction-1930
Aug. 08, 1927  Federal Tax Reduction—1928
Sep. 27, 1926  Tax Reduction and the Public Debt
Jan. 16, 1926  Taxation of Estates and Inheritances
Nov. 07, 1925  Federal Taxation of Small Incomes
Nov. 28, 1924  Social, Fiscal and Legal Aspects of the Inheritance Tax
Apr. 07, 1924  Causes and Effects of the Tax Return Blockade
Dec. 12, 1923  Tax Exempt Securities
Dec. 10, 1923  Taxation
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Property Tax
Real Estate