Counties with the Heaviest Tax Burden

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

This week’s Buffalo Business First article (not yet available on line) reports that the average Niagara County household pays 2.92% of the value of their home to taxes.  It amounts to 5.0% of the homeowner’s yearly income, $2,802 on a home valued at $96,000.  [Note to self:  It also means your average home is not worth twice your annual income].

The noticeable thing about this article was that of the top 12 counties, 10 of them are in New York.  Erie County ranks 7th nationally; we pay 4.7% of our income in real estate taxes.  By percentage of home value, the most taxed California county ranked 570th out of 788.

But surely, Californians must pay lots of taxes because their home values are so huge, right?  Nope.  If you rank the counties by amount paid, the first California county to make the list comes in at 25th.  There are 6 New York counties ahead of it (including #1 and #3) and combined, New York/New Jersey take 21 of the top 25 spots.

In 2007 the U.S. median real estate tax was $1,838.  In Erie County it’s $2,822.

When we add school and state income taxes to our annual burden it’s little wonder that our take-home pay doesn’t go far, why businesses have difficulty staying in and coming to New York State, and why so many people leave.  And yet in 38 days, nearly every one of our incumbent state legislators will be re-elected.

I do not expect tax equity to come from within the marble halls of Albany’s legislative complex.

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