State Policy AnalystConcerns over property tax affordability have been at the forefront this year as housing prices have climbed and property tax bills have often increased along with them. As lawmakers mull a range of property tax cuts, circuit breakers are the best possible approach—and these policies are receiving far too little attention in the states.
Associate Director, Local TaxesAt nearly every turn, Oregon’s tax policies widen inequality; as a result, the top 1 percent pay less state and local taxes as a share of income than the poorest residents. Taxing capital gains at the local level is an important and exciting move in the other direction – to tax income from wealth and use it to address crucial needs.
Associate Director, Local Taxes
March 30, 2023
Better Local Tax Policy Can Help Communities ThriveFrom dedicating new taxes to fund climate action and public health to vacancy and “mansion” taxes, many local leaders are already exploring ways to make their tax systems more progressive and sustainable. ITEP is committed to helping local leaders and advocates build on this work by advancing knowledge about local tax solutions.
Jenice R. Robinson
Communications DirectorThe deck is stacked against those who have the least, and ongoing racism makes it even more difficult for people of color to avoid punitive systems that are intentionally structured to extract what, for poor people, can be usurious penalties. The nation collectively shrugs about such injustices because they are either invisible or we chalk up entanglements in any legal morass to personal behavior. But the truth is that, indirectly, we are all part of the fines-and-fees matrix that entraps poor people in debt or keeps them tethered to the criminal justice system. None of us should look away.
State Policy AnalystWith both assessments and appraisals being unfair, homeowners of color are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to determining the worth of what is, for most homeowners, their most valuable asset.
Property taxes are among the oldest and most relied upon form of local taxes. Revenue raised from these taxes funds education, firefighting, law enforcement, street and infrastructure maintenance, and other essential services. Though all members of the community enjoy these public goods, homeowners of color, especially Black families, pay more as a share of home value in property taxes than their white counterparts.
Property tax circuit breakers are effective because they provide property tax relief to families whose property taxes surpass a certain percentage of their income. If a family in a gentrifying area sees their property tax bill (or their rent) surge to an unaffordable level, a circuit breaker credit kicks in to offer relief. This targeted approach assists low- and middle-income families without significantly reducing overall tax revenue.
March 31, 2021
A New Look at Taxes and Race at the State and Local LevelsA new ITEP report reveals how different taxes have very different impacts on racial equity and unveils data for two states showcasing the consequences of their contrasting tax policy choices. In short, we find that income taxes can help narrow the racial income and wealth divides while sales taxes generally make those divides worse.
Deputy Executive DirectorThe exposé (Addicted to Fines: Small Towns Are Dangerously Dependent) raises two important issues that policymakers have the power to address. One, lack of revenue at the local level is linked to a broader challenge with state tax systems. Two, fines and fees often entrap lower-income people in a cycle of debt and, in some jurisdictions, ultimately criminalize poverty by casting unpaid fines as misdemeanor crimes.
Senior FellowLast year, the Walton family's fortune grew by $100 million a day. This level of wealth is particularly obscene in the context of the Walmart Corporation’s dark store strategy. The company works nationwide to reduce its property tax assessments, which, when successful, deprives local communities of revenue necessary to fund education, libraries, parks, public health and other services.
Affordable housing advocates across the nation are attempting to address the problem at the local level, but they often face political and community opposition. These challenges are currently playing out in Baltimore, which is turning into a case study in how the best-planned civic interventions run into tough road blocks when it comes to tax increases versus moneyed special interest who seek to block those tax increases.
Lisa Christensen Gee
Director of Special Initiatives
August 10, 2017
The Many Reasons for the Seattle Income TaxA month ago, the Seattle City Council passed an income tax measure, which has garnered a lot of attention as well as volumes of supportive and opposition commentary. Haven’t had a chance to dive into the details yet? We’ve got you covered. What is the new income tax law and who does it impact? The […]
- Corporate Taxes
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Education Tax Breaks
- Federal Policy
- Fines and Fees
- Inequality and the Economy
- Local Income Taxes
- Local Policy
- Local Property Taxes
- Personal Income Taxes
- Property Taxes
- Refundable Tax Credits
- Sales, Gas and Excise Taxes
- SALT Deduction
- State Corporate Taxes
- State Policy
- Tax Analyses
- Tax Basics
- Tax Credits for Workers and Families
- Tax Reform Options and Challenges
- Taxing Wealth and Income from Wealth
- Trump Tax Policies
- Who Pays?