Placing Providence’s Property Tax Burden in a National Context

Further to Andrew’s post, Providence’s very high property taxes undoubtedly result from a combination of two critical factors. One, at least, was eminently controllable and, therefore, avoidable.
The first is that 40% of the city’s real estate is tax exempt. The second factor contributing to its very high property taxes, and the one that could have been avoided, has been decades of elected officials formulating and/or affirming (i.e., passing along) seriously irresponsible budgets – budgets that appear to have completely disregarded the first factor and its implications to revenue.
Below are the national rankings of Providence’s property tax rates. It is difficult to see where there is room to increase them. In fact, the city clearly needs to go in the opposite direction.

Residential Tax Rate: 7th highest

[As of 2009. Source: The US Census.]

Commercial Tax Rate: 2nd highest

[As of 2010. Ranking of US urban cities by the Minnesota Taxpayers’ Association and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.]

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Sorry to say, I got lost in the tables you linked. I did notice (Table 447?) that Charlottte, NC had very high taxes. I wonder if this is because it is such a dynamic city, having almost tripled its population since 1990. Such growth must be expensive. My NC taxes are very low but extensive, county property tax, fire district tax, county sales tax.
I don’t think that 40% of Providence’s property being tax exempt, is that unusual. Good figures are hard to obtain because cities are notorious for over valuing exempt property. This is seen as favorable in explaining high taxes.
Although Providence has spent beyond its means, I think it has failed to remember that its means are shrinking.
Like most older cities a huge portion of Providence would probably be categorized as a “slum”. These areas pay relatively little in taxes and demand very high services. As conditions worsen, tax revenues decrease and demand for services increase. Face with the same problem, Detroit speaks of bulldozing large areas and converting them land area to parks, these have very low demands on city services.

Max D
Max D
10 years ago

Say it isn’t so! Are you suggesting the people that pay the least amount of taxes (or none) require more public resources? You better keep an eye out for those lefty thrown hand grenades. You’re speaking sacrilege to the libs.

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