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October 4, 2006

Study finds New Yorkers pay some of the highest property tax bills in the nation

When measured as a percentage of home value, property taxes in nine New York counties were among the nation's top 10 property tax burdens in 2005, according to a new study by the Tax Foundation.

Property taxes in the Upstate counties of Niagara, Monroe, Onondaga, Wayne, Chautauqua, Erie, Schenectady, Cayuga, and Chemung Counties were 2.4 percent or more of the county's median house value in 2005, the study found. In Niagara County, the typical $91,000 home had a tax burden of more than $2500.

The Tax Foundation study analyzed data from the Census Bureau to compare 2005 property tax burdens in the 775 U.S. counties with populations greater than 65,000. The data did not include taxes paid by businesses or renters.

Four of the top 10 total tax burdens in the nation, not adjusted for average property values, also belonged to New York, the Tax Foundation said. The number one burden in the nation, $7,337, belonged to downstate's Westchester County. Rounding out New York's four counties in the top-ten list were Nassau ($7,025), Rockland ($6,527), and Putnam ($6,335).

When property taxes are measured as a percentage of personal income, the same four counties were again in the top ten. In Nassau County, residents' tax bills in 2005 were nearly 8 percent of the average $89,320 that year. Putnam, Suffolk and Westchester County homeowners paid tax bills of more than 7 percent on average incomes of $86,694, $83,915, and $101,581, respectively.

Recent analysis by the Public Policy Institute showed that New York has the nation's fourth-highest per-capita property tax burden at $1,677 -- 54 percent above the national average.

Residents of the southeast and west paid the lowest property tax burden. The lowest tax burden in the nation was paid by residents of Apache County in Arizona. The average property tax burden in 2005 was $176 on the average $71,600 home, or about 0.3 percent of the median income.

The study is available at www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/1888.html.