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State's Property Taxes Among Lowest In The Nation

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma's property taxes rank among the lowest in the nation, according to a pair of recent national reports.

The two studies by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation of Washington, D.C., show Oklahoma consistently ranks among the ten states with the lowest property tax rates.

One report ranked Oklahoma 47th among the 50 states for both property taxes per capita and as a percentage of income in 2004.

The other report, using 2005 Census Bureau figures, rated the state's median property tax for owner-occupied housing 45th and 42nd in property taxes as a percentage of median household income.

Only when property taxes were calculated as a share of median home value did Oklahoma rise to near the middle of the pack, at 31st.

``I've never figured out why Oklahomans hate property taxes so much,'' said economist Larkin Warner. ``Truth to tell, that property tax is a pretty darn good tax. It's voted on locally, it's collected in the district and it's spent in the district.''

According to the Tax Foundation, Oklahoma's per capita property tax collections were $465.95 in 2004, or 1.72 percent of personal income. That compares to $2,104.36 per capita in New Jersey, and 5.5 percent of income in New Hampshire. Both figures are the highest in the nation.

When only owner-occupied housing is considered, Oklahomans paid 1.37 percent of household income for property taxes in 2005, or $635 a year. Those calculations are based on a median home value of $89,100 and a median household income of $46,215.

New Jersey had the highest median property tax payment, $5,352 a year. Alabama was lowest, at $302.

Low property taxes do have a cost. In Oklahoma's case, it means a greater reliance on sales and income taxes and gross energy receipts. Warner said because wellhead taxes and sales taxes are unstable sources of revenue growth, he expects property taxes likely will increase in the future.
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