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Entries in Property Taxes (6)

Monday
Jan282013

New Jersey Town Gives People Property Tax Break for Shopping

Creatas/Thinkstock(MARLBORO, N.J.) -- The township of Marlboro, N.J., is giving residents a break on their property taxes if they shop at local stores.

“Every local elected official has to do their part to help us get out of this recession and help local businesses,” said Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik.  “We’re doing our part, which we hope will increase the number of customers coming to these establishments.”

Launched in Sept. 2012, the “Shop Marlboro Campaign” allows local businesses to offer shoppers a chance to have a percentage of their purchase go toward their property tax bill.

The town has issued 1,700 reward cards, in conjunction with a consumer financial company called FinCorp and a local bank, Investors Bank.

The 38 participating businesses can choose whatever percent discount they choose to shoppers with the reward cards.  It will cut into stores’ margins, but the store gains a customer, and the shopper saves at tax time.

So far, the participating businesses have offered property tax credits from 2 to 16 percent off shopping bills.

“I have a card in my wallet, and say I have a $100 bill at a store,” Hornik said.  “With a 10 percent break, the retailer will make sure $10 of those dollars are a credit on my tax bill.”

Residents can pick up a rewards card at the Marlboro Town Hall and the local Investors Bank.

There have been 130,000 transactions under the program so far, saving shoppers $8,000 total on property taxes.  The next tax bills in Marlboro are due in February.

Hornik said he believes this is the first program of its kind.

“I think it’s a success and I think it will continue to be a success,” said Hornik, adding that he has personally saved $254 on his property taxes by shopping locally.

He said he hopes the program will continue to grow.

“We have 41,000 residents.  I would like to see the number grow from 1,700 participants,” Hornik said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov132012

Nine Most Expensive Cities for Housing Costs

Phillip Spears/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- When considering purchasing a home, potential buyers should consider a number of costs in addition to a home sale price, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums.

Bankrate.com compiled a list of total median monthly housing costs in major U.S. cities.  San Francisco took first place with median monthly total costs of $2,497.68, followed closely by another expensive city, New York.

Here are the nine most expensive cities in Bankrate.com's list:

1. San Francisco - $2,497.68

  • Mortgage rate: 3.58 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $2,004.93
  • Property tax payment: $415.92
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $76.83

2. New York - $2,068.96

  • Mortgage rate: 3.67 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $1,385.30
  • Property tax payment: $598.58
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $85.08

3. Boston - $1,833.73

  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $1,384.65
  • Property tax payment: $362.83
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $86.25

4. San Diego - $1,746.21

  • Mortgage rate: 3.65 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $1,387.38
  • Property tax payment: $282.00
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $76.83

5. Washington, D.C. - $1,735.45

  • Mortgage rate: 3.63 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $1,339.79
  • Property tax payment: $306.58
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $89.08

6. Seattle - $1,726.50

  • Mortgage rate: 3.63 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $1,394.00
  • Property tax payment: $286.50
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $46.00

7. Los Angeles - $1,474.75

  • Mortgage rate: 3.68 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $1,090.00
  • Property tax payment: $307.92
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $76.83

8. Baltimore - $1,276.98

  • Mortgage rate: 3.95 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $968.06
  • Property tax payment: $244.00
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $64.92

9. Philadelphia - $1,183.43

  • Mortgage rate: 3.66 percent
  • Mortgage principal and interest payment: $805.02
  • Property tax payment: $320.58
  • Homeowners insurance premium: $57.83

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun132012

North Dakota Votes Against Abolishing Property Tax

Creatas/Thinkstock(BISMARCK, N.D.) -- North Dakotans took their angst against property taxes to the polls on Tuesday, an issue that's been gaining traction in other parts of the U.S.  Polls closed at 8 p.m. central time and results show voters ultimately rejected the constitutional amendment.

Measure 2 proposed to eliminate North Dakota's property taxes, which amount to $812 million annually, retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.  If the measure had passed, the state would have been the first to eliminate local property taxes, the mainstay of cities and towns.

"People shouldn't have their homes held hostage," said Charlene Nelson, 52, chairwoman of the organized effort behind Measure 2, Empower the Taxpayer.  "The state has more than enough revenue to pay for K through 12 education as well as government services without kicking people out of their homes."

The issue of increasing property taxes is contentious in many parts of the country as local governments tried to raise additional revenue during the downturn.  The National Taxpayers Union reported 30 percent of properties in the U.S. are assessed at higher values than they are worth.  Counties in New York and New Jersey have the 14 highest median real estate taxes paid in the country.

The debate on lowering or eliminating property taxes has gained traction in states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas.

Nelson said her group and state legislators considered reforming property tax policy, including mimicking California's Proposition 13, which decreased property taxes.  Nelson also supported a bill in 2009 that ultimately failed.

"Every solution we looked at only created more inequity, created more confusion and complication and didn't address so the fundamental core issue of property taxes," she said.  "The issue of a property tax really was unfixable."

Nelson said the state has "more than enough" money with its $5 billion state surplus without the additional revenue from property taxes.  She said there are better ways to fund local governments.

"It all comes out of taxpayers' pockets -- right or left.  The question is should our homes be at risk, and we say they shouldn't," Nelson said.

The measure stated that property taxes must be replaced with revenue from state sales taxes, individual and corporate income taxes, oil and gas production, tobacco taxes, lottery revenue and other sources.

Groups like the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce opposed the measure, calling it "draconian" and "ill-advised."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

North Dakota Votes on Measure to Eliminate Property Taxes 

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NORTH DAKOTA) -- North Dakotans take their angst against property taxes to the polls Tuesday. It's an issue gaining traction in other parts of the U.S., though opponents of a measure to eliminate the tax say the state isn't as cash-rich as it seems.

Measure 2 proposes to eliminate North Dakota's property taxes, which amount to $812 million annually, retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year. If the measure passes, the state would be the first to eliminate local property taxes, the mainstay of cities and towns.

"People shouldn't have their homes held hostage," said Charlene Nelson, 52, chairwoman of the organized effort behind Measure 2, Empower the Taxpayer. "The state has more than enough revenue to pay for K through 12 education as well as government services without kicking people out of their homes."

It is one of four measures on a ballot for which polls close at 8 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, including a proposal to change the University of North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" logo and nickname.

The issue of increasing property taxes is contentious in many parts of the country as local governments tried to raise additional revenue during the downturn. The National Taxpayers Union reported 30 percent of properties in the U.S. are assessed at higher values than they are worth. Counties in New York and New Jersey have the 14 highest median real estate taxes paid in the country.

The debate on lowering or eliminating property taxes is gaining traction in states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas.

Nelson said her group and state legislators have considered reforming property tax policy, including mimicking California's Proposition 13, which decreased property taxes. Nelson also supported a bill in 2009 that ultimately failed.

Nelson said the state has "more than enough" money with its $5 billion state surplus without the additional revenue from property taxes. Nelson said there are better ways to fund local governments.

The measure states that property taxes must be replaced with revenue from state sales taxes, individual and corporate income taxes, oil and gas production, tobacco taxes, lottery revenue and other sources.

Groups like the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce oppose the measure, calling it "draconian" and "ill-advised."

Previous constitutional measures, some that passed as early as 1920, left the state with only about a $730 million surplus as of June 30 last year, lower than what property taxes fund in one year, according to North Dakota's Chamber of Commerce.

Andy Peterson, president of North Dakota's Chamber of Commerce, suspects the measure will fail three to one, in part because of residents' cautiousness toward spending.

"It's a very conservative state and we like it that way," said Peterson. "It's just the culture here."

Jon Godfread, the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce's vice president of governmental affairs, says the measure would take away control from local governments -- whose main source of revenue is property taxes.

"We think local government is the best government because it's closest to the people," Peterson said.

If property tax revenue dries up, the state's 2,100 units of local government will have to come to the state legislature "begging for money."

That will be challenging as the state has a biennial legislature that meets 80 days every two years.

"We're all for tax reform and lowering the tax burden but unfortunately this measure goes too far," Godfread said. "What we feel is there will be tax increases elsewhere."

Nelson said there would be no need to raise taxes elsewhere.

"If taxes are raised it will be a political decision and not an economic one. It will be to appease special interest groups that want unlimited access to family budgets," she said.

Even if the measure fails as polls predict, Nelson said she will continue working on the issue.

"If it doesn't pass," she said, "we've just begun."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar142012

Is Your Property Tax Bill Too High?

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The battered real estate market has another side effect that often goes overlooked, consumer finance and tax experts say. Millions of homeowners are unknowingly paying too much property tax.

According to the National Taxpayers Union, about 30 percent of properties in the U.S. are assessed at higher values than they are really worth.  That means their owners pay inflated property tax bills while other taxpayers in their towns reap the benefits.

Cities, counties and school districts are collecting 20 percent more in property taxes than they did in 2006, before the housing bubble burst and when home values were one-third higher than they are today, USA Today reported.

Though some of the assessments may have adjusted, the total amount of local state and property tax collection has only taken a small dip very recently, said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union.  Sepp said that may mean the assessments have been decreasing, but property tax rates may be increasing.

"Homeowners probably haven't been getting the relief they expected when values dropped," he said.

In 2003, the New York Public Interest Research Group examined assessment accuracy of nearly 700,000 homes in New York City and found that 31 percent were incorrectly over or under-assessed, based on fair market value.

Meanwhile, only 2 percent of homeowners appeal their property taxes, according to the National Taxpayers Union.

Lisa Gerstner, staff writer with Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, said most local governments only assess property values every two or three years.  Gerstner said it's important to know how your local government assesses properties.  Sometimes homes are compared with a recently sold home.  Other cities and towns may apply a computer algorithm to adjust property values.

The Census Bureau has data about median real estate taxes paid across the country, and like in previous years, the most recent data from 2010 shows New York and New Jersey collect the highest county property taxes.

Top 15 Counties in Median Real Estate Taxes Paid, 2010:

1. Westchester County, New York: $9,003
2. Nassau County, New York: $8,711
3. Hunterdon County, New Jersey: $8,523
4. Bergen County, New Jersey: $8,489
5. Rockland County, New York: $8,268
6. Essex County, New Jersey: $8,117
7. Somerset County, New Jersey: $7,801
8. Morris County, New Jersey : $7,707
9. Passaic County, New Jersey: $7,544
10. Union County, New Jersey: $7,443
11. Putnam County, New York: $ 7,331
12. Suffolk County, New York: $7,192
13. Monmouth County, New Jersey: $6,917
14. Hudson County, New Jersey: $6,426
15. Lake County, Illinois: $6,285

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar102011

Survey: New York County Pays Highest Property Taxes in US

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Businesses in Westchester County, a suburb north of Manhattan, pay the highest property taxes in the nation and they are saying, "Enough is enough."

"Everyone assumes property tax is a homeowner issue, but it's really a business issue," said Paul Vitale, vice president of government and community relations with the Business Council of Westchester.

The organization has about 1,200 members and is lobbying to lower property taxes to keep businesses in the area.

Westchester is the county with the highest median real estate taxes in the country, at $9,044, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

According to Vitale, businesses pay 44 percent of property taxes in the state of New York.

Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, is in favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to cap property taxes to combat the high costs businesses and residents pay.  Cuomo's bill was approved by the New York State Senate on Jan. 31.  The bill most recently went before the state assembly.

Along with Weschester, two other counties in New York made the American Community Survey's top 10 list of highest median real estate taxes paid in 2009.  Here is the complete list:

1. Westchester, New York, $9,044
2. Nassau, New York, $8,940
3. Bergen, New Jersey, $8,708
4. Hunterdon, New Jersey, $8,671
5. Rockland, New York, $8,542
6. Essex, New Jersey, $8,245
7. Passaic, New Jersey, $7,939
8. Morris, New Jersey, $7,904
9. Union, New Jersey, $7,793
10. Somerset, New Jersey, $7,720 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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