Bridgeport tops list of highest property taxes

A new study puts Bridgeport atop the list of cities paying the highest property taxes in the nation.

The annual 50-state property tax comparison study, a partnership of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, reports on relative property tax burdens across the United States. It measures taxes paid in each state’s largest city, which means Bridgeport gets the honors in Connecticut.

For owner-occupied homes in Bridgeport valued at $150,000, annual property taxes amounted to $6,060, according to the study, which was No. 1 nationally. Detroit came in second, and Aurora, Ill., came in third (Aurora is used for Illinois instead of Chicago because Chicago, like New York City, has a property tax structure unique in its state).

Boston was at the bottom of the list, though it’s somewhat deceiving because Boston offers a homestead exemption that can amount to up to 90 percent of the home’s market value.

Bridgeport had a mill rate of 42.198 this year, which is high but not the highest in Connecticut — Waterbury, for example, had a 58.22 and Hartford a 74.29. But Bridgeport is the biggest city, so it gets to be featured in the study.

The Northeast in general comes off badly in the study. “In part because the study measures effective property tax rates – that is, the actual tax payment as a percentage of market value – many struggling post-industrial cities, where property values have dropped, show up at the top of the rankings,” the study’s writers note.

Bridgeport is also hurt by the lack of a commercial tax base. Part of the study measures the degree to which homeowner property taxes are subsidized by commercial property owners. Bridgeport comes in second to last, beating out only Baltimore.

Hugh Bailey