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January 27, 2009

Property taxes and pain tolerance

Forbes has published a Tax Foundation table ranking 788 U.S. counties according to how much is paid in property taxes as a percentage of household income. The rankings are based on data from the 2007 U.S. Census American Community Survey.

New York and New Jersey take top honors in the quest to consume the largest portion of the citizens' hard-earned money: 22 of the 25 highest counties! And yet, people still consent to live there, and -- most likely -- keep voting for the folks who imposed the levies on them in the first place. Why?

#1, Passaic County in New Jersey, taxes away 8.5% of its citizens' median income. The rate for my county is less than half of that, and it is is apparently below the pain threshold of the majority of the voters. I sometimes complain about my property tax bill, but I expect that I would squeal like a stuck pig if I was presented with a bill like the ones that the citizens of New York and New Jersey routinely pay.

If you are a property owner in one of the top-ranked counties, I would love to hear your thoughts about your property taxes, and about the general attitude of your fellow citizens there.

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