How Central Falls’s Property Tax Rate Nearly Doubled Year Over Year
There’s been some question, in the comments sections, about differing tax rates reported for property in Central Falls. John Hill explains what happened:
Last year, the total value of residential, commercial and industrial real estate in the city was just under $685 million. The new valuation, based on sales figures from the past year, was $411.6 million, a loss of $273 million, or 40 percent.
The drop in the value of taxable real estate meant the city had to increase the 2010-2011 tax rate just to generate the same amount of revenue as last year. Last year, the property-tax rate was $10.78 per thousand of assessed value; this year it went to $19.22 per thousand.
State receiver Mark A. Pfeiffer, who oversees the city’s municipal finances, announced last week a 10-percent increase on top of that, to $21.14.
This is one of those ambiguities of taxation that comes up from time to time. Is the amount that you are taxed, for your property, better thought of in context of the rate or of the amount? Most RI towns treat your property essentially as a share in the government’s cost and tax you according to your share more than directly according to the value of the asset that they’re taxing. Personally, I think that slyly saddles homeowners with all of the risk for local property values, insulating municipal governments from the effects that their own policies can have thereon. But given all of the other things wrong with the way government operates in this state, it’s not really worthy of a crusade.