# High state property taxes- pork barrel spending?

bluemoonKY
I've heard that the average homeowner in the state of Massachussetts (MA) pays about $15,000 in state property taxes per year. I believe that the standard deduction on Federal income taxes is$6,400 per year. State property taxes can be itemized on Federal income taxes. It seems to me that having property taxes at or close to the standard deduction on property taxes is pork barrel spending.
If a citizen of Massachussetts pays $15,000 in state property taxes, he or she can itemize$15,000 in property taxes in addition to the other itemized deductions. This would greatly reduce the amount of taxes that a homeowner in MA would pay to the Federal government. Homeowners in MA pay a lot of taxes to MA that benefit MA, but this causes homeowners in MA to pay less money to the Federal government than the homeowners otherwise would pay to the Federal government. This money that homeowners in MA pay to the state of MA benefits people in MA more than paying money to the Federal government would benefit people in MA. I've never heard or read anyone accuse states that have very high property taxes of pork barrel spending. Since state property taxes can be itemized on Federal income taxes, how is a state having very high property taxes not pork barrel spending?

jim hardy

## Answers and Replies

The property taxes where I live are also very high. Ours are local taxes, going to the town. Around 75% goes to the public schools. Most of the rest goes to the schools in nearby cities. The remaining pittance goes to the town police, plowing snow off the roads, the public library. I don't see how any of that qualifies as pork barrel spending.

Staff Emeritus
The post is rather confused. Taxes are not spending. While perhaps there is a point to be made, it doesn't help to confuse the two.

bluemoonKY
The property taxes where I live are also very high. Ours are local taxes, going to the town. Around 75% goes to the public schools. Most of the rest goes to the schools in nearby cities. The remaining pittance goes to the town police, plowing snow off the roads, the public library. I don't see how any of that qualifies as pork barrel spending.

Are your property taxes high enough that your property taxes cause you to pay substantially less Federal income taxes than you would pay if your property taxes are lower? If not, then it does not qualify as pork barrel politics. If so, then it is pork barrel politics. If your property taxes are high enough that your property taxes cause you to pay substantially less Federal income taxes than you would pay if your property taxes are lower, your high property taxes are pork barrel politics because of the following: Alabama (AL) has low property taxes. Most homeowners in AL will have property taxes low enough that they will either use the standard deduction on their Federal income taxes, or, if they itemize their Federal income taxes, most AL homeowners will pay a higher percentage of their income to Federal income taxes than you do. Therefore, you are paying a higher percentage of your income to your state and local goverments (which benefits you more) than to the Federal government than most AL homeowners.

From Wikipedia, pork barrel: Pork barrel is a metaphor for the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district.

bluemoonKY
The post is rather confused. Taxes are not spending. While perhaps there is a point to be made, it doesn't help to confuse the two.

Taxes are spending for the taxpayers.

However, for the sake of clarification, let's call it pork barrel politics instead of pork barrel spending. Please focus on the gist of my post rather than just semantics. How am I wrong that the very high state property taxes is pork barrel politics?

BWV
According to https://smartasset.com/taxes/massachusetts-property-tax-calculator#PXgAu2ckxa

The median MA property tax is about $3800 with a rate of about 1.5% of appraised value - so it would take a tax appraisal of$1 million to generate a $15k property tax, so the whole premise of this thread is BS Now states fund themselves in three main ways - income, property and sales taxes (fees on things like auto registration or traffic tickets being a secondary source). They all have pros and cons, which is perhaps a better topic for discussion. Mentor I've heard that the average homeowner in the state of Massachussetts (MA) pays about$15,000 in state property taxes per year.
You're going to have to do better than "I've heard..." Another member cited an average figure of \$3800, and gave a citation.
Since state property taxes can be itemized on Federal income taxes, how is a state having very high property taxes not pork barrel spending?
This isn't how "pork barrel" spending is usually defined. Do some research on this term.
Since the thread is based on flawed assumptions and misunderstanding of commonly used terms, it is now closed.

Bystander