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3 Things For Black America To Know About The Rigged And Wealth-Stealing Property-Tax System

3 Things For Black America To Know About The Rigged And Wealth-Stealing Property-Tax System

Property
3 Things For Black America To Know About The Rigged And Wealth-Stealing Property-Tax System Photo: iStock

For generations, Black Americans have been blocked from building wealth through real estate. Not only were freed slaves denied their promised 40 acres, but even today, when Black people can buy a land or a home, they are often cheated out of the property’s true value and overburdened by taxes. Studies have shown that Black families pay much higher property taxes than white families.

Here are three things for Black America to know about the rigged and wealth-stealing property system.

1. Paying more for less

Across the country, Black families pay 13 percent more in property taxes each year than a white family would in the same situation, The Washington Post reported.

Black-owned homes are typically assessed at higher values, relative to their actual sale price, than white homes, according to a working paper by economists Troup Howard of the University of Utah and Carlos Avenancio-León of Indiana University.

As a result, African Americans bear a disproportionate burden for taxes that support local police, schools, and parks.

“These inequities are tucked deep inside America’s system for funding its local governments, tilting property taxes in favor of wealthy homeowners even before any exemptions or abatements,” Bloomberg reported. “And they carry a jarring implication: The residential property tax, which raises more than $500 billion annually to pay for public schools, fire departments, and other local services, is, in effect, racist.”


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2. Overvalued for taxes, undervalued by banks

While tax assessments tend to overvalue many Black homeowners’ property, when the same homeowners get private appraisals for the purpose of securing mortgage approvals or for selling, their property is consistently undervalued, Bloomberg reported.

3. Designed to fail

The system seems to be set up for Black homeowners to fail.

Inequities in tax assessments are among the many factors weighing on Black homeownership rates. “Facing the accumulated disadvantages of centuries of repression and systemic racism, Black Americans are likely to earn less than similar white workers in lower-paying service jobs, a dynamic that makes it more difficult to buy a home,” The Washington Post reported.

Many Black homeowners, disproportionately affected by job losses and infection rates during the covid-19 pandemic, are finding it hard to pay their mortgages. One in five Black households has reported missing a mortgage payment since mid-March 2020, compared with about one in 20 white ones.

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