#3 Google Search result from "los angeles property tax calculator" is actually the median tax paid in LA County.
However, the median price of a house in LA County is $420,000. Much higher than what we paid. In California, you pay property taxes based on the market value of your home. Our market value is not $420,000, which means that we should probably pay a lot less.
$3,300 wouldn't be as big a deal if I were making $120,000 a year. I barely make a fraction of this amount. Basically what people paid to watch the MayPac non-fight in person was basically what I make.
We paid a lot less than $420,000, not even half that amount. We paid around $170,000. With that home value, the site estimates that we should be paying $1,300, about the amount of our monthly mortgage.
But in actuality they're demanding DOUBLE our monthly mortgage.
This is on top of our school loans ($300), our utilities ($350), gas money ($240), groceries ($400) on two incomes totaling $60K per year, which actually isn't so bad, but more than once I've had to pick up a job or two.
Searching for answers, we called the phone number on that bill. Whoever took our phone call explained that part of the reason our property tax was high was due to two reasons:
1) Prop 13 ensures that properties bought after 1978 are based on current market value of our home. As new homeowners, we have had to pay property taxes based on market value.
On the surface it sounds harmless, but considering what it has done to public education, and the benefits it gives to old homeowners, it really seems to be pinching us.
From what little I understand, the proposition made it easy for old homeowners, those who bought property before 1978, to prevent neighborhood change.
This NY Times opinion piece from 1988 captures the reality I feel we are currently experiencing in 2015:
If you combine higher tax assessments with sharply higher impact fees, the upshot is that newcomers, many of whom struggled mightily just to make their first down payment, are subsidizing public services for low-taxed landed gentry.The reality of "struggling mightily just to make our first down payment" was real.
I mean, I cleaned out the last of my savings to put into the cheapest house we could buy in Compton. I'm wondering how my Pacific Palisadian high school classmates would see me now.
It makes me wonder about how much our next-door neighbors pay and the real difficulties and hidden costs of home ownership.
2) Compton, and other cities with lower to lower middle-income earners have the highest tax rates.
An LA Times Article from 2010 explains:
"An additional problem facing low-income cities, particularly during the current economic downturn, is that many have scanty commercial districts that generate little sales tax revenue. As a result, poorer cities tend to be more dependent on property tax revenue than wealthier ones."