Leaving the grocery store this morning, I happened to glance at the cover of the Boston Globe and see this story about property taxes rising despite falling home values. Eureka! It's almost like I just wrote about that subject on Wednesday! I don't think the point needs to be belabored - it's a pretty simple concept, yet one worth making again. The opening line of the Globe article is:
"Despite dropping home values, Massachusetts property tax bills continued to rise last year."
Again - property taxes need to be proportioned to town spending. Many of us have been somehow conditioned to think about property taxes as a percentage of our home value - but that's an irrelevant benchmark. The amount of revenue the town needs to collect is not a function of the paper value of all the homes in town - it's a function of how much the town spends.
If you want lower taxes, you need lower spending. Lower home values do not, and should not imply lower taxes.