Circuitbreakers: The Best Way to Control Property Taxes

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Dick Lavine /(512) 320-0222 x 101

March 16, 2009

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A circuitbreaker is a targeted property tax reduction program that operates like an electric circuitbreaker, which cuts off the electric current to a house before an electrical surge can cause damage. A property-tax circuitbreaker reduces property taxes that exceed a certain percentage of a taxpayer’s income. Circuitbreaker programs account for a taxpayer’s ability to pay when calculating a property tax bill and cost far less than across-the-board rate reductions or increases in exemptions. This Policy Page examines variations among several states’ thresholds for triggering the circuitbreaker and how they administer their programs.