US home prices are rising so fast, property taxes can’t keep up

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Assessments are lagged, but that doesn’t mean property taxes have to increase. Property tax rates are set so that a locality can raise the correct amount of revenue. If property values go up, rates could go down to maintain whatever level of revenue is needed. Of course this level of revenue may increase because of rising costs of providing public services, but it won’t rise simply because property values are increasing.


The mill rate (the amount of tax charged per $1000 of home) should decline. Properties might be worth more, but what the funds are spent on — usually local things like roads, fire departments and schools — the cost of servicing those public goods did not increase at the same rate as the appreciation of housing.


Shouldn’t property taxes just be “cost of municipal services / number of properties” (or perhaps number of acres, so larger properties pay more tax)? Fire fighters, police, and teachers don’t cost more just because my house value has doubled.