By Sally Deneen
Grundy County homeowners pay among the highest property taxes in the nation, according to a Tax Policy Center report. It finds property taxes are highest in counties in Illinois, California and the Northeast, "reflecting in part high property values."
Average residential tax bills around the nation tend to be close to $1,000 a year, but the average Grundy County bill was $3,814 annually during the studied timeframe of 2007 to 2011, according to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.
Grundy ranks 92nd in the nation in terms of average annual taxes paid during that timeframe, the report states. Still, higher property taxes were paid by homeowners in Cook County (ranked 84th), McHenry County (31st), Kendall County (29th) and Lake County (15th). Lake County's average annual residential tax bill was $6,570.
You have to look east to suburban New York City to find where the highest property taxes are paid – exceeding $8,500 annually in Westchester, Nassau and Bergen counties.
Look south to Alabama and Louisiana for among the lowest taxes, the report suggests. In New Orleans, for example, its average home value of $183,500 during the studied period isn't much lower than Grundy's ($191,500). But the average annual tax bill paid in Crescent City, the report shows, is smaller by two-thirds – just $1,174.
"For residential homeowners, the burden of the property tax is substantial, making up about one-quarter of homeownership costs at the median homeownership duration," the report states.
Don't look for taxes to drop.
"In recent years local governments have relied on the property tax for around three-fourths of their tax revenue," the report concludes. "At the state and local level, more tax revenue is collected from the property tax than from any other source."
An interactive map shows the average tax bills in all Illinois counties and around the United States.