When we compare the average property tax of different states across the USA, the State of New York stands out among the top tier of those who pay the most in property taxes. Among the many different counties of New York, Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island have some of the highest property tax rates (both over 2%).
Why is it that Long Island has some of the highest property tax rates in one of the highest states for property taxes in the USA? The answer is a little complicated. To help you understand, we have broken down the major factors that contribute to this below.
Property Values Are Higher
The median price of homes in Long Island is about $500,000. In comparison, the median price of homes across the USA is about $250,000. This means that property values in Long Island are more than twice the national average. For this reason, those who live here will naturally have higher property assessment rates. Remember that Long Islanders also have higher average property tax rates than most of New York State and the United States.
High Property Taxes for Public Education
More than 60% of the property taxes collected by Long Island are distributed among the 125 public school districts across Long Island. Sadly, these taxes are disproportionately distributed to rich neighborhoods and for paying exorbitant salaries for administrative officials for these school districts.
Unique Assessment Formulas
Long Island has a unique formula for property tax assessment that is difficult for the average homeowner to understand. Handling Long Island property tax grievances, for example, is often out of the expertise and/or knowledge of most homeowners. In addition, the formulas often work against middle-class homeowners since they don’t account for the growing costs of living in Long Island.
Public Employees (Current & Former) Receive a Lot
One of the beautiful things about taxes is that we can all pitch in and pay a fair share to finance public services that we almost all use and take advantage of such as public education, fire services, sewage, and police services. However, we might need to reconsider how much we pay public employees. There are various school superintendents and police officers across Long Island comfortably making more than 6 figures each year from property taxes paid by Long Island property owners.
Unnecessary Expenses in Public Services
Given the high amount that we pay for public services, it is fair to argue that we are perhaps paying too much. Accordingly, various public services are being overfunded. There are even instances where Suffolk County has had to borrow money, such as $60 million in 2016 to pay pensions for retired police. It has been reported, for example, that over 235 retired police officers are receiving 6 figure pensions.
Firefighters also get 6-figure pensions on Long Island after their years of service. Is it fair for Long Island property owners to finance the comfort of retired police officers and firefighters in their later years? Perhaps so, or perhaps they can find other ways to invest and grow money throughout their careers instead.
Need Some Help Lowering Your Annual Property Taxes?
If you live on Long Island and are currently paying high rates for property taxes, we understand your struggle and concerns. Here at Heller & Consultants Tax Grievance, we will have an extraordinary record in helping you minimize the your property tax burden. Best of all, you won’t pay us a dime until we successfully lower your property taxes. Give us a call for a free consultation today or apply online here.