20 Jul 2006

National Tax Impact of Local Government

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The San Francisco Chronicle reports some eye-opening statistics from a study by the National Association of Homebuilders of the distribution of federal tax benefits for homeownership.

Homeowners in a single congressional district in California, the 14th District in Silicon Valley, took more in mortgage interest write-offs than all the residents of six states combined. Homeowners in the 14th — which covers most of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, plus part of Santa Clara County — claimed $3.2 billion in mortgage interest deductions during the year covered by the study, compared with $2.9 billion by all the residents of Vermont, Wyoming, West Virginia, Alabama and North and South Dakota. The average deduction in the 14th District was $35,000, compared with an average of $9,500 for homeowners nationwide.

— Residents of a single congressional district on Long Island wrote off more in real estate property tax deductions than all the homeowners from seven states combined. Owners in New York’s Third District took $1.25 billion in deductions — more than the $1.2 billion total claimed during the same period in Hawaii, Wyoming, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia and North and South Dakota.

— The average New Jersey homeowner claimed $6,005 in real estate tax write-offs — more than five times the average deduction by residents of Hawaii ($1,126). New Yorkers claimed an average $5,181 in property tax deductions, followed by the residents of New Hampshire ($4,830), Illinois ($4,129) and Vermont ($3,845).

— The average California homeowner wrote off $14,217 in mortgage interest deductions, while the average homeowner in Oklahoma wrote off $5,710. Washington, D.C., homeowners took an average $11,759 in mortgage interest deductions, while the average homeowner in North Carolina got $6,808.

Higher federal deductions mirror the impact of liberal governments. Home prices (and mortgage deductions) are far higher where new development is intensely regulated and curtailed, and liberal states and municipalities impose (naturally) the highest real estate taxes resulting in the largest local tax deductions.

Thus, the cost of bad government in San Francisco, Manhattan, and the District of Columbia is shared with residents of low regulation, low tax red states.

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