Education A State Capitals Roundup

Property-Tax Reliance on Decline, Report Says

By Robert C. Johnston — September 22, 2004 1 min read

State and local governments continue to rely less on the property tax—long the backbone of school funding—for their revenue, a report says.

The report, “Role of Property Taxes in State and Local Finances,” can be ordered from the NCSL for $27 by calling (303) 364-7812.

The report by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures found that property taxes provided just 29 percent of total state and local tax collections in 2001. During the 1940s, property taxes yielded nearly half of such revenue, while in 1902, the figure was 82 percent, the report says.

State and local governments are replacing that revenue source by turning to fees and other taxes, including taxes on sales and income.

The report, “The Role of Property Taxes in State and Local Finances,” cites several reasons for the shift, including government-mandated tax caps, voter-approved property-tax limitations, and legislative efforts to provide property-tax relief.