According to CNN Money, which reported on new data from the Tax Policy Center, three counties surrounding the U.S.’s largest city, New York, have the highest property tax rates in the country. Westchester and Nassau counties, both in New York, and Bergen County in New Jersey all require residents to pay an average of over $8,800 per year in property taxes. Westchester County, where property taxes are highest in the nation, charges an average annual property bill of $9,647. That equates to a whopping $804 per month!
Conversely, the Tax Policy Center found that over 20 counties in the United States charged an average of $250 or less per year. Most of these counties are located in the South, with the majority of these counties located in Alabama and Louisiana.
So what are residents of Westchester, Nassau, and Bergen getting for their extra tax dollars? For one thing, better funded schools. In New York and New Jersey, public schools receive a large portion of their funding from property tax dollars. This means that kids living in high-tax areas tend to have access to higher quality educational technology, textbooks, and other facilities.
In all parts of the country, property taxes are usually used to fund local governments’ budgets. If other sources of revenue dry up, property taxes will likely rise. Given the shaky ground that the economy is still standing on, it’s likely that property taxes will continue to rise in 2014. Depending on where you live, this could push average property tax bills above $10,000 annually.