The property tax is by far the largest and most reliable component of revenue for cities and towns. Data collected by DLS makes it clear that whether property values are moving up or down, property taxes will increase, except in rare instances, given the need to provide ever more costly services. This is particularly true during times when there is less state aid, stagnant local receipts, and little new growth. Over each of the past ten years, the statewide average single-family tax bill has increased in both actual and constant dollars. The weighted average tax bill increased in 2010 by $140, or 3.3 percent, to $4,390, the smallest percentage increase of any year in the past decade. The percentage increase during this time ranged from the current low to a high of 6.7 percent in 2002. The cumulative percentage increase over this period is 55.3 percent, an average of 5.5 percent each year. Generally speaking, the average bill has recently increased at a slower pace suggesting a few factors are at play, such as leaner budgets, reduced excess levy capacity and Proposition 2 ½ override fatigue.bold added for my own emphasis
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Updated 8/22/10 - The Boston Globe headlines for the Sunday paper referenced this same report.