When it comes to property taxes, a good deal of attention is paid to the state’s top earners.
As with income taxes, there is much less attention paid to those with lower incomes.
But in a world where the median income has plummeted from $49,000 in 1970 to $31,000 today, those who make more money can expect a larger tax bill than the average person.
In 2017, the average tax bill of an upper-income household in Massachusetts was $10,945, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
For an upper middle class household, the tax bill was $8,965.
Lower income earners in Massachusetts can expect to pay between $1.3 million and $1 million less in property taxes than their upper-middle class counterparts.
It’s a significant change for a state that has been in a long-term decline, according the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
For a median household, Massachusetts’ tax bills in 2017 were $1 billion lower than they were in 2010.
And according to a study by the Tax Foundation, lower-income earners paid an average tax of $1 in property tax over the same period.
In 2016, property tax collections in Massachusetts fell slightly, but the drop was far from permanent.
In 2019, property taxes rose to $1 trillion.
For all taxpayers, the biggest changes are likely to come from higher property taxes on the wealthy.
In 2021, the state will tax the value of a home worth $500,000 or more at 20 percent.
In 2018, the threshold was $150,000.
But a lower tax rate could result in property values in Massachusetts going up by $100,000, according a 2017 report from the Joint Tax Committee.
The Joint Tax Report also found that property tax rates in the Northeast and Midwest fell for the second year in a row, and the lowest rates in all the states were in the Midwest and Southeast.
“The tax code has been a huge growth area for wealth and income, and if the state is going to be able to provide that growth, it needs to change,” said Matt Miller, the executive director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which has been fighting to pass a property tax bill for years.
The property tax rate is a major driver of inequality.
As the Tax Policy Center reported in 2016, median household income in Massachusetts is $45,831.
The top 1 percent of households have a $4,621 annual income, or more than two-thirds of the state.
In addition, about 25 percent of Massachusetts residents are on social security.
The median household in the state had an income of $46,936 in 2016.
A family of four in Massachusetts with an annual income of less than $30,000 could pay less than a half-million in property property taxes for every $1 it paid in income taxes.
A middle class family in Massachusetts could pay $2,716 in property value tax on their home.
The Institute for local self-reliance has been pushing for an increase in property and income taxes for years, but there has been little progress.
The House and Senate recently passed bills to raise the property and personal income tax rates to 15 percent, 18 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
“It is the case that the tax code is being used to benefit the wealthiest of Americans,” Miller said.
“There is a lot of money to be made by lowering property taxes.”
In 2018 alone, the Institute said, the wealthy earned $18.9 billion.
The Tax Foundation found that the median tax bill in the Boston area, which includes Somerville and Cambridge, was $6,827 in 2021, up from $4.6 million in 2021.
According to the Tax Research Center, in 2016 the median household was $58,959.
As property taxes rise, the cost of living also increases.
A home in Boston is worth more than twice the average cost of housing in Massachusetts.
The cost of owning a home is up more than 30 percent since 2010.
The average home in Massachusetts in 2020 was $1.,719, the Tax Institute said.
That compares to $929 in 2021 and $821 in 2020.
The most expensive areas for property taxes in Massachusetts are Somerville, Cambridge, Roxbury and West Roxbury.
The highest cost areas are in the suburbs of Boston, where prices have increased by more than 25 percent.
The study also found an increase for middle-income families in Somerville.
The annual median home price in Somerlie increased from $1M in 2020 to $2.6M in 2021 compared to a $2M home price increase in West Roxboro in 2021 to $4M.