Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Property Taxes Drop Compared to Personal Income

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Property Taxes Drop Compared to Personal Income

Article excerpt

Ad valorem, or property taxes are always a popular subject around the State Capitol. Data released this month by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission gives a bit of enlightenment on property values nationally and in Oklahoma.

- The assessed value of U.S. taxable property in 1986 was almost $5 trillion, nearly quadruple what it was ten years earlier, U.S. Department of Commerce figures show.

- Some $4.1 trillion of the assessed value was locally assessed real property, which was more than 85 percent of total real property. Local real property in Oklahoma comprised about 66 percent of total real property.

- More than three of every five dollars of local real property assessments came from residential properties, the report said. Residential properties were about 52 percent of all assessments nationwide, compared to 41 percent in 1956.

- About 10 percent of all U.S. assessments were for personal property, compared to 17 percent in Oklahoma.

The report said increases in assessed property values reflect increases in U.S. real and personal property market values, changes in assessment levels and reassessments.

Of the nearly 108 million parcels of taxable real estate in the United States in 1986, about 60 percent was residential and 15 percent was acreage and farm properties, the report said.

Thirty years earlier, residential properties were 50 percent of all parcels of taxable real estate, and acreages and farms were 23 percent.

Revenues from local taxes on real estate and personal property have increased more than 185 percent since 1972, the report said, but property tax revenues have declined more than 30 percent in proportion to personal income.

Local property tax revenues totaled about $117 billion in 1987, up from $41 billion in 1972. Because incomes rose more during that period, local property taxes dropped from $48 to $33 per $1,000 of personal income, the report said.

Per capita personal income in Oklahoma was $12,558 in 1987, up 2.6 percent from $12,245 in 1986, U.S. Commerce Department figures show.

U.S. per capita income rose by about 6 percent to $15,484 in 1987, and Oklahoma's per capita income was about 81.1 percent of the national figure, the report said.

Per capita incomes in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas exceeded the state total. Oklahoma City's was up 2.5 percent from the 1986 figure to $13,735 in 1987 and Tulsa's was up 1.6 percent to $14,085.

Cimarron County recorded the highest per capita income in the state, with $22,700 for each of its 4,000 residents, or nearly 47 percent above the national total, the report said.

Pushmataha County had the lowest per capita income in 1987, with $7,387 per person for 12,000 residents. The figure was more than 52 percent below the national total. . .

Consumer Advocate High Point The Oklahoma chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business rates the creation of a utility consumer advocate as the high point of the 1989 state legislative session.

The advocate will be part of the attorney general's office and will argue on behalf of residential and commercial users in utility rate cases before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Richard Chapman, director of the 8,500-member local chapter, said previously only big business has been able to finance the kind of representation needed to challenge utility rate hikes.

"The advocate will give us little guys something we've never had - a strong, expert voice in utility ratemaking," he said.

Chapman said he is hopeful the advocate will also represent small business in workers' compensation rate cases.

While giving Oklahoma lawmakers high marks for the 1989 session, federation members said they were disappointed at their failure to take on workers compensation and liability insurance costs. …

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