“Property taxes” in a nutshell mean that you don’t really own your real estate — you just rent it from the government.
Property owners are taking action across the country as tax bills continue rising, even as home values have tumbled. Nationally, median prices of existing homes fell 22.3% from 2006 to 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. But local tax formulas and assessment cycles usually don’t reflect rapid price declines. Indeed, a recent survey by the National League of Cities found 25% of cities raised property tax rates in fiscal year 2009 to offset falling tax revenues.
In Michigan, so many owners protested their assessments last year that the state’s highest tax court has 24,000 cases awaiting hearings. Wall Street Journal