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Property tax rate limits are varied in nature. Some property tax rate limits are tied to the previous year’s tax rate and budgetary needs; others are a strict millage cap on property tax rates. For instance, Wyo. counties cannot impose a property tax rate above 12 mills, which is $1,200 annually for a property assessed at $100,000. Other states limit the aggregate property taxes collected by a given rate.11


In Alaska,


the borough total tax rate cannot produce revenues greater than $1,500 per resident per year, regardless of the millage or the assessed value.12


MAP 3.


LIMITATIONS ON COUNTY PROPERTY TAX RATES AND PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS AS OF NOVEMBER 2016


No Authority To Levy Property Taxes


Neither Property Tax Rate Nor Assessment Limit


Only Property Tax Rate Limit


Only Assessment Limit


Both Property Tax Rate and Assessent Limit


Note: In Del., the state limit on property tax rates affect only Kent County. Conn., R.I., and parts of Mass. have counties or county-equivalents with no county governments (marked in grey on the map).


Source: NACo interviews with state associations of counties and state and county officials in each of the 48 states with county governments, research of state statutes, tax codes and local government finance literature.


Property tax rate limits reduce the potential of property taxes to generate sufficient revenues for counties. These limits are particularly troublesome when the demand for county services exceeds significantly the rise in assessed property values, for example, when a county is adding population rapidly.


LEVY LIMITS: Restrictions on counties’ authority to set levies affect counties in 30 states (See Map 4).13 Property tax levy limits restrict the allowable increase in aggregate property tax revenues generated by counties annually. This is the second most common statutory limit on county property taxing authority imposed by states. In five of these states (Ark., Del., Ind., N.M. and Pa.), counties may not exceed this limit for any reason. Counties in 20 states need to get voter approval to exceed the levy limit. In the remaining five states, counties may exceed this limit without voter approval.


Levy limits vary in type. Certain levy limits cap property tax revenues to a fixed percentage annual increase. For example, counties in Ariz. cannot increase property tax revenues more than 2 percent annually; Nebraska counties’ levies may not increase more than 5 percent year to year. Other levy limits restrict


10 62


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of COUNTIES | NOVEMBER 2016 COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


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