Washington’s state and local property taxes are right about at the national average, as the above Tax Foundation map shows. According to TF, the range is wide.
On average, state and local governments collected $1,556 per capita in property taxes nationwide in FY 2016, but collections vary widely from state to state. The highest state and local property tax collections per capita are found in the District of Columbia ($3,535), followed by New Jersey ($3,127), New Hampshire ($3,115), Connecticut ($2,927), New York ($2,782), and Vermont ($2,593). Meanwhile, the lowest collections per capita are found in Alabama ($548), Oklahoma ($699), Arkansas ($712), New Mexico ($768), and Kentucky ($775).
Property taxes, TF points out, also vary within states, as do property values and government services. And, as we know here, property taxes always attract a lot of taxpayer and political attention.
We mention this, not just because people care about property taxes, but also because it continues an underreported fact. The performance of Washington’s tax structure, idiosyncratic as it is, resembles that of most states, most of the time. As the following chart from a Washington Research Council analysis of the state’s tax system makes clear, per capita tax collections here track well with the US average.
From the WRC summary:
Washington’s tax structure is unusual,but it yields revenues that are similar to other states by multiple metrics…
Despite its lack of an income tax, Washington’s state and local taxes per capita have largely tracked the national average (see Chart 3 on page 2). In 2016 (the most recent data available), Washington’s state and local taxes per capita were $5,050, above the national average of $4,946. By this measure, Washington ranked 17th in the nation.
The system is working.