Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Niagara County back on top ...

For the second time in three years, Niagara County tops the list of highest taxed counties in America based on a percentage of property value. Last year, the county was second.

From Business First:
Niagara County residents carry the heaviest property-tax burden in America, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation.

The typical Niagara County household pays $2,802 in property taxes each year, which equals 2.92 percent of the value of the typical home in the county, $95,800. That’s triple the national rate of 0.95 percent.

The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., compared home values and property-tax rates in all 788 U.S. counties with populations of $65,000 or more. Its report was based on newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The seven counties with the heaviest property-tax burdens are all in New York, including three in Western New York. Joining Niagara County from this region in the top seven are No. 3 Chautauqua County and No. 7 Erie County.

Gov. David Paterson has appointed Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi to head up a commission to rework the state’s formula on property taxes.

Suozzi’s panel has made recommendations in a preliminary report that is due to be finalized by Dec. 1. State lawmakers have also introduced measures to provide relief to property owners who pay some of the highest taxes in the country. However, there are differences in the legislation proposed in the state Senate and Assembly.

A series of statewide hearings are scheduled to address the matter. The Buffalo session is set for Oct. 30. Other stops are for Albany, Oct. 2; Yonkers, Oct. 22; Rochester, Nov. 5; and Syracuse, Nov. 12.

The following are the 10 U.S. counties where taxpayers carry the heaviest tax loads. Each county is followed by its median property tax, median home value and the percentage of home value spent in annual taxes by the typical homeowner:

• 1. Niagara County, N.Y., $2,802 in annual taxes, $95,800 in home value, 2.92% tax load

• 2. Monroe County, N.Y., $3,629 in annual taxes, $128,500 in home value, 2.82% tax load

• 3. Chautauqua County, N.Y., $2,184 in annual taxes, $79,300 in home value, 2.75% tax load

• 4. Wayne County, N.Y., $2,690 in annual taxes, $102,000 in home value, 2.64% tax load

• 5. Oswego County, N.Y., $2,189 in annual taxes, $85,500 in home value, 2.56% tax load

• 6. Onondaga County, N.Y., $3,056 in annual taxes, $120,000 in home value, 2.55% tax load

• 7. Erie County, N.Y., $2,822 in annual taxes, $112,000 in home value, 2.52% tax load

• 8. Fort Bend County, Texas, $4,229 in annual taxes, $168,800 in home value, 2.51% tax load

• 9. Steuben County, N.Y., $2,039 in annual taxes, $82,500 in home value, 2.47% tax load

• 10. Camden County, N.J., $5,311 in annual taxes, $223,400 in home value, 2.38% tax load
You may recall two years ago, the Niagara County Legislature took issue with this fact, saying that it didn't count the fact that the county has a good bond rating. I'm serious.

I'll be interested in seeing how Niagara County's new Public Information Office reacts to this.

Edit: Gerald Plante, senior economic advisor to the Tax Foundation will be my guest tomorrow morning at 11:15 a.m. on Dialog (WLVL) to discuss this.