This is part of a series about local budgets and property tax. View the series landing page here.
I am sharing in this post a tool I’ve been using (and will continue to use) as I write this series. It is a property tax dashboard, created from a fantastic set of datasets published by the NJ Department of Community Affairs (that site is here). Each year, the state collects prior year property tax data and published them in standalone Excel files. I’ve been compiling the data year on year and now have all of them in Tableau.
In 2019 I published a property tax dashboard (here) looking back at historic data available from the NJ Department of Community Affairs. In 2023 I wanted to update that visual and provide more holistic context about the data.
This public data has utility for taxpayers who wish to understand not only where their local government has been, but where it might be going. Some key insights we can derive from this data includes:
- What “local public government” is — we pay taxes to three distinct local governments in NJ – the public schools, the municipality, and the county.
- Tax levy change – we can see where the property tax investment been historically, and where is it now, in 2023, with respect to the public schools, the municipality, and the county.
- Tax base change – we can see how healthy the taxable real estate “base” is that funds the tax coffers, and evaluate if the tax base is growing, remaining stagnant, or shrinking. This informs a host of factors related to local finance including the school funding paradigm, the possible incentive to use abatements, and more.
- Tax rate trends – we can see how well the system is managed and maintained by evaluating the tax rates and understanding what they communicate about tax fairness.
I want to also make an important note: this dataset includes the pre-appeals equalized value of the tax base. This important because there is also a “post”-appeals equalized value of the tax base and this latter value is what is important for property tax appeals. I’ll write more about this ‘pre’ and ‘post’ appeals value of the tax base in a separate post.
For now, you can view the dashboard in a new window here or below. I welcome feedback or questions; please use the link at the bottom of this page to get in touch.
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