Property Taxes At Lowest Level Since 1946
Declined from 6.9% of personal income in late 1960s to 3.6% in 2016.
Final property tax figures for 2015-16 show that all units of government (municipalities, schools, counties, technical colleges, etc.) levied $10.62 billion last December (payable in 2016), a 2.3% increase over December 2014 levies. After all state credits are applied, net levies totaled $9.45 billion, a 1.4% increase.
This year, net property tax levies claimed 3.6% of personal income, the smallest percentage since 1945-46 (see chart). State-imposed property tax limits, state “buydowns” of property taxes, and increased state credits explain the decline since 1994.
The state has imposed revenue limits on schools since 1993-94 and on technical colleges since 2014-15. It has imposed levy limits on municipalities and counties since 2005-06. These limits were tightened beginning in 2011-12.
In 1997, the state increased school aids about $1 billion, which reduced school levies more than 16% due to revenue limits. It used $406 million to buy down technical college levies in 2014-15.
To ease the property tax burden, state tax dollars are used to fund various credits on property tax bills. Currently, state taxes and lottery revenues fund three credits totaling $1.17 billion. Since 2005-09, tax-funded credits have increased $533 million, or 114%. The 2015-17 state budget added $105.6 million to them to reduce 2015-16 tax bills.