Despite mixed economic signals for 2023, including a possible recession, many state lawmakers plan to use temporary budget surpluses to forge ahead with permanent, regressive tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy at the expense of low- and middle-income households. These cuts would put state finances in a precarious position and further erode public investments in education, transportation and health, all of which are crucial for creating inclusive, vibrant communities where everyone, not just the rich, can achieve economic security and thrive. In the event of an economic downturn, these results would be accelerated and amplified.
blog January 18, 2023
State Lawmakers Should Break the 2023 Tax Cut Fever Before It’s Too Late
blog October 31, 2022
Tax Foundation’s ‘State Business Tax Climate Index’ Bears Little Connection to Business Reality
The big problem with the Index is that it peddles a solution that not only falls short of the goal of generating business investment, but one that actively harms state lawmakers’ ability to provide the kinds of public goods – like good schools and modern, efficient transportation networks – that businesses need and want.
blog March 31, 2022
Racial Discrimination in Home Appraisals Is a Problem That’s Now Getting Federal Attention
With 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.
blog January 5, 2022
The Pendulum Is Swinging Toward Tax Justice
Tax justice is deeply connected to the movements for equality and racial justice. Progressive tax policy can ensure more of us share in the prosperous economy that our collective tax dollars make possible. It can mitigate economic disparities by class and race. And it can make sure the government has the resources it needs to function for all of us.
blog September 14, 2021
New Census Data Highlight Need for Permanent Child Tax Credit Expansion
The status quo was a choice, but the Census data released today shows that different policy choices can create drastically different outcomes for children and families. It is time for our state and federal legislators to put people first when it comes to recovery.
blog August 5, 2021
Why Local Governments Need an Anti-Racist Approach to Property Assessments
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.
blog April 27, 2021
Gentrification and the Property Tax: How Circuit Breakers Can Help
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.
blog November 30, 2020
After the Dust Has Settled: How Progressive Tax Policy Fared in the General Election
While the results of the 2020 presidential election are all but set in stone—and a sign of life for progressive policy—the results of state tax ballot initiatives are more of a mixed bag. However, the overall fight for tax equity and raising more revenue to invest in people and communities is trending in the right direction.
blog October 22, 2020
Voters Have the Chance in 2020 to Increase Tax Equity in Arizona, Illinois, and California, And They Should
There’s a lot at stake in this election cycle: the nation and our economy are reeling from the effects brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and states remain in limbo as they weigh deep budget cuts and rush to address projected revenue shortfalls.
blog October 8, 2020
Putting California Proposition 15 in Context
Californians are voting now on Proposition 15, which would require commercial and industrial property worth $3 million or more to be taxed based on an up-to-date assessment of full market value. Proposition 15 is sound tax policy that would raise much needed revenue and help to advance racial and economic justice.
report September 26, 2019
State Tax Codes as Poverty Fighting Tools: 2019 Update on Four Key Policies in All 50 States
This report presents a comprehensive overview of anti-poverty tax policies, surveys tax policy decisions made in the states in 2019 and offers recommendations that every state should consider to help families rise out of poverty. States can jump start their anti-poverty efforts by enacting one or more of four proven and effective tax strategies to reduce the share of taxes paid by low- and moderate-income families: state Earned Income Tax Credits, property tax circuit breakers, targeted low-income credits, and child-related tax credits.
brief September 26, 2019
Property Tax Circuit Breakers in 2019
State lawmakers seeking to make residential property taxes more affordable have two broad options: across-the-board tax cuts for taxpayers at all income levels, such as a homestead exemption or a tax cap, and targeted tax breaks that are given only to particular groups of low- and middle-income taxpayers. This policy brief surveys the advantages and disadvantages of the circuit breaker approach to reducing property taxes.
blog August 16, 2019
One Tax System for Most Americans, and a Second System for the Wealthiest
Last 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.
map May 18, 2019
How Heavily Does Your State Rely on Property Taxes?
The property tax is the oldest major revenue source for state and local governments and remains an important mechanism for funding education and other local services. This map shows the share of state and local general revenue in each state that is raised through property taxes.
blog April 12, 2019
You Can’t Tax Stolen Land
The Montana Senate this week stopped a bill to restructure the state’s temporary tribal tax exemption program, making tribal governments the only sovereignties on which Montana levies a tax and making it more difficult for leaders to buy back illegally seized land. Still, the success of the bill in the House is troubling.
ITEP Work in Action January 15, 2013
Indiana Association for Community Economic Development: Indiana Property Taxes: Is Property Tax Relief or Tax Restructuring the Solution?Many Indiana communities are once again experiencing what is perceived to be a property tax “crisis.” However, by its most common definition, a crisis implies a situation that is characterized…
brief September 1, 2011
Split Roll Property Taxes
In the past half century, state lawmakers have explored a wide variety of approaches to scaling back property taxes. One such approach is the split roll property tax, also known as a classified property tax. Unlike a regular property tax system which taxes all types of real property at the same rate, a split roll property tax applies different tax rates to different types of property. This policy brief looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the split roll approach.
brief September 1, 2011
Capping Property Taxes: A Primer
In response to what anti-tax advocates have branded as “out of control” property taxes, a number of states have decided to make use of tax “caps” to restrict the growth of local property taxes. California’s Proposition 13 tax cap, approved in 1978, inspired numerous other states to enact similarly ill-conceived property tax caps. These caps can come in many forms, but all are poorly-targeted and costly. In most cases, these caps amount to a state-mandated restriction on the ability of local governments to raise revenue. While state lawmakers get to take credit for cutting taxes, local lawmakers are the ones forced to make difficult decisions regarding which services to cut. There are three main types of property tax caps in use around the country: caps on property tax rates, caps on assessed value growth, and caps on overall property tax revenue growth.
brief August 1, 2011
How Property Taxes Work
The property tax is the oldest major revenue source for state and local governments. At the beginning of the twentieth century, property taxes represented more than eighty percent of state and local tax revenue. While this share has diminished over time as states have introduced sales and income taxes, the property tax remains an important mechanism for funding education and other local services. This policy brief discusses why property is taxed and how property taxes are calculated.