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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A good place to start a discussion of the United States' state and local revenue systems is with the single largest source of state and local own-source revenues—the property tax. Beginning with a comparative review of traditional measures used to examine tax trends, this article proceeds to an analysis and evaluation as to that tax's performance in recent years and through the Great Recession, concluding with a look to the fiscal future. The property tax today still remains as the local government revenue “mainstay”—97 percent of property tax revenue accrues to local governments. Over the past four decades, however, the property tax has declined in its relative importance as a share of local government revenues (43 percent of local general revenues in 1968 to 28 percent in 2008), and as a percentage of local own-source revenues (56 percent in 1968 to 45 percent in 2008).

Keywords: local revenue systems, property tax, own-source revenues, Great Recession, local government revenue, revenue source

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