There's a classic good news-bad news split in a new study on state and local taxes done by Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative.
For Philadelphians, the good news is that city residents are no longer among the highest taxed in the region.
The bad news is that is not due to any huge policy shift towards lower taxes in the city.
It's mostly because taxes have increased so much in the
In a 2000 study done on the same topic,
Today, we rank 48th.
To give more specifics, in 2000 the Smiths of Philadelphia ($60,000 annual income, owning a home worth roughly $186,000) paid 13.5 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Today (in inflation adjusted dollars) they pay 12.9 percent. A slight decline.
If you look at the Jones family living in
Why is this happening?
In the suburbs, the answer is easy. Over the last 12 years, counties and local municipalities have raised taxes in order to meet demand for services. They also regularly reassess their properties to keep up with market value.
For another thing, while suburban counties have kept pace with reassessing,
According to Pew's study, the average assessment-to-market ratio is nowhere near 32%. According to a study of assessments vs. market value done as part of this project, they found the average was 13 percent.
The Pew study includes an interactive map that allows you to see what the local and state tax burden is in many municipalities on both sides of the river. You can find it here.
It also offers further proof of the stress felt by inner ring suburbs, who emerged with the highest average state and local tax burden -- again, for the mythical $60,000 a year family of four. It is particularly acute in
These suburban communities have stepped ahead of
Seen strictly from a tax point of view, instead of moving from Cobbs Creek to
From the perspective of those folks who live in these inner ring communities,
-- Tom Ferrick