Property Tax FAQ

Why do property taxes increase? Local government spending. 

 

If local elected officials choose to spend more and raise property taxes, they need to clearly explain why the government needs the money more than the people they represent.

The information provided on itrlocal.org is intended to be used as a way to start an informed conversation with the people who determine how much you pay in property taxes: your local school board, city council, and county supervisors.

Below are some frequently asked questions about itrlocal.org and property taxes:

 

What does the red line mean?

It shows the percent change in total property taxes collected for each school district, city, and county.

 

What does the blue line mean?

It is a combination of percent change in enrollment or population plus inflation.

 

Are your community’s taxes reasonable?

When a taxing authority's enrollment or population grows, the amount of taxes collected will probably grow as well because the number of services provided increases. Additionally, inflation increases the cost of providing those services.

The blue line shows a reasonable growth rate in a local government's budget for each community so look at the gap between the red and blue lines and percent totals.

A small gap shows the local elected officials are doing a good job with their budget. A large gap shows they have chosen to spend more than what would be reasonable. Click on the button below the line charts to easily email the elected officials.

 

What causes property taxes to increase?

Here are the top three reasons:

        1. Local government spending.
        2. Local government spending.
        3. Local government spending.

 

Is increased spending justified?

Elected officials need to let taxpayers know why they are spending more. It is up to taxpayers to decide if the increase is justified.

 

How can I help control my property tax bill?

Contact the people who determine your property tax bill.

It is easy for elected officials to spend more when the people who pay the bill are silent. This is why ITR makes it easy to look up your community's information and start a conversation with the people who set your tax bill.

 

Who determines my property tax bill?

Local government spending is the reason, and spending is controlled by:

    • School board members
    • City council members
    • County supervisors

These are the people who set your tax bill.

Many people think the increasing value of a property is the reason their tax bill grows. It isn't. We call this an Honesty Gap.

 

Who spends your property taxes?

Property taxes support many local government entities. These are referred to as “taxing authorities.”

When you get your property tax bill in the mail, turn it over to see the distribution amount and percent of your tax bill and change from the previous year.

Usually, the largest part of your property tax bill is for your local school district. Cities and counties are the next largest, followed by community colleges, and other smaller taxing authorities such as townships, cemeteries, county ag extension services.

 

Can you appeal or protest your property taxes?

No, you can’t.

When you get your tax bill, it is too late to speak up. That is why NOW is the best time to start a conversation with local elected officials before they start creating their budgets. Look at your community's information and start a conversation with the people who set your tax bill.