Property tax appeals threaten local budgets

December 30, 2010 12:36PM

With U.S. home prices down by almost a third from their spring 2006 peak, property owners are flooding city and state governments with tax appeals in a trend that’s sure to put even more downward pressure on already tight budgets, according to Businessweek. New Jerseyans filed a record 18,147 appeals during the last fiscal year, up 80 percent from fiscal 2007. Meanwhile, Atlantic City has used up its entire $26 million reserve for tax appeals, and the pending appeals on all casinos there have caused the city’s credit rating to drop to three levels above speculative grade, Moody’s Investors Service said last month. In Clark County, Nev., one of the most battered real estate markets in the nation, taxable property values fell to $184 billion this year from $263 billion in 2009, and the county will lose $514 billion in taxes as a result. Across the country, it’s becoming more and more likely that local governments will need to cut more services in the coming year as a result of that loss in revenue. In South Florida, however, tax appeals are actually now on the decline after a 22 percent drop in assessments between 2008 and 2010. [Bloomberg Businessweek]