A Great Property Tax Primer by the Tulsa World

  • Joe Wertz

Tulsa World

Click here to see a Tulsa World graphic that breaks down a property tax bill.

The Tulsa World has sorted through the assessment ratios, rates, fair market values and mills, and assembled a nifty explainer on property taxes.

As the paper’s Kevin Canfield writes, property taxes are confusing and complicated:

Individuals with residential property in the city of Tulsa and the Tulsa Public Schools district, for example, could see their property taxes increase from $35 for an $80,000 home. They could rise $65 for a $150,000 home. And that comes in a year when the total net assessed property values in those areas declined.

Naturally, the World piece uses Tulsa as the basis for its examples and illustrations, but the same complications are found property tax bills throughout the state.

Property tax “fixed rates” are regularly tapped for voter-approved municipal and county projects, including education and construction projects.

The variable rates are those set annually to raise funds for city and school district sinking funds. Sinking funds are used by those entities to pay interest and principal on general obligation bonds and judgments.

The World breaks down a property tax bill line-by-line, and explains the process by which properties are assessed and taxed.

Oklahomans have a historic hatred for property taxes. Maybe that loathing is particularly severe in the Tulsa area. In October, a meeting of the Tulsa County Excise Board — which sets property tax rates — was upended when a board member questioned the purpose of the board’s very existence.