I used to despise property taxes because the city would raise them even when property prices were collapsing during the financial crisis. It was/and still is up to property owners to fill out a complicated form, find comparable homes that have dropped in price within a certain radius, make sure the comparable sales fit within a certain timeframe, and pay a $60 fee to do so with no guarantee you’ll win!
If you didn’t spend time contesting your property taxes, the city would gleefully raise them despite the obvious declines. The city counts on meek or ignorant people to fill their coffers and pay themselves handsome salaries. It’s just like how members of Congress continued to get paid even when they shut down the government in 2013. Can you imagine losing your job in the recession and having to pay higher property taxes while knowing your neighbor sold his house for 20% less than the city’s assessment?
I fought my property taxes in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and won for a particular property I bought in the beginning of 2005. I had to fight since the value of my stock and real estate holdings were getting hit and I no longer had a job in 2012. Since 2013, I’ve let the city tax me back to my normal purchase price plus a ~2% a year catch up increase because the economy has thankfully recovered. I don’t mind paying my fair share so long as it’s just.
After paying ~$350,000 in property taxes since 2003, I’ve finally accepted the reality that it’s up to those of us who saved like crazy and took the risk of owning property to pay for our community’s infrastructure, education, public transportation, service men and women, and other public works. We must pay for those who cannot or will not.
What I’ve also realized is that after much debate, my fellow renters absolutely believe they are paying their fair share of property taxes, even if they aren’t cutting a separate check to the city twice a year. With this thought in mind, I now believe it’s logical behavior for renters to keep on voting for increased government spending because they all want better and are willing to pay for it through higher rents.