According to the recently published 2019 Anchorage property appraisal report, Anchorage has total property values of $46 billion. However, not all of that $46 billion is taxed due to ‘exemptions’. State mandatory exemptions by type include seniors/disabled vets, municipality, education, federal, state, charitable, religion, hospital, native, community purpose, veterans’ organizations and other. Optional local exemptions include residential, personal property and charter schools. All of these exemptions amount to 24% of the total real property values.
It is interesting to note that the bulk of taxable value by property type falls on residential at 61% and single family homes make up $16.5 billion of the residential taxes, by far the largest category of ANY taxable type. If you include condos, 2-3 unit multi-family and vacant/other residential, that total is $21.5 billion. The next highest category taxed is commercial properties at 31% and personal property at 8 per cent.
Since 2013, the MOA has been doing an annual review of residential, senior and disabled veteran exemptions with total adjustments to add taxable value of $56 million. It is also interesting to note that during that period of time, the mill rate also increased from 12.96 to 16.40 or an increase of 26.54% percent.
Total revenue from property taxes is $549 million which supports more than half of the MOA’s operating budget. It’s hard to make sense of what exactly all these numbers mean but my instinct tells me that homeowners’ are paying a disproportionate burden of taxes to support our local government. Every time a new bond proposal is approved with only a $2 or $3 dollar increase per $100,000 in residential value, homeowners pay more than anyone else to support additional services and improvements. The average sales price of a single family home is approximately $368,000. The median value is $330,000. As our housing stock continues to age and requires more maintenance and repairs and utility costs increase, perhaps the MOA should consider adding to its tax income by looking at downsizing some of its local exemptions and working with the state government to modify, but not necessarily eliminate, state mandated exemptions so that the tax burden doesn’t disproportionately fall on Anchorage’s residential property owners.