Jackson leads the area in tax-exempt properties eight percent designatedBy ANTHONY WARREN,
Tax-exempt properties continue to be a burden on the capital city.
Eight percent of all properties in Jackson are tax-exempt, according to figures provided by the Hinds County Tax Assessor’s Office.
Tax-exempt parcels place much less of a burden on Jackson’s suburbs. Just 3.12 percent of Ridgeland’s parcels are not taxed, compared to 1.67 percent of Madison’s.
Ridgeland and Madison have 9,175 and 11,793 parcels respectively.
Jackson has 77,838 properties, of which 6,450 have tax-exempt status.
The status is granted to churches, nonprofits and government facilities.
Figures provided do not include parcels with homestead exemptions, which gives eligible homeowners a reduced rate.
Officials with the tax assessor’s office said it would be hard to determine how much the properties would generate if still on the tax rolls, citing the various sizes and conditions of the properties.
Tax-exempt properties range in size, from the 164-acre campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center to smaller sites owned by churches and nonprofits.
A study released by Downtown Jackson Partners in 2011 stated that the city lost $8 million a year as a result of tax-exempt properties in the Central Business District alone.
Based on that figure, tax-free parcels in that district alone account for about 14.4 percent of the city’s total property tax revenues.
Of those, the state is one of the largest landlords, owning more than 18 percent of exempt facilities.
By comparison, 3.5 percent of taxable properties in Austin, Texas are tax-exempt; 8.6 percent of properties in Baltimore are tax-exempt, and 6.2 percent of properties in Jacksonville are tax-exempt; and 4.2 percent of properties in Dallas are tax-exempt, according to a 2011 analysis in Governing magazine.
Exemptions in Austin account for 12.4 percent of the city’s total assessed value; 30.3 percent of Baltimore’s assessed value; 23.4 percent of Dallas’ assessed value; and 28.8 percent of Jacksonville’s, the magazine states.
The city must provide fire and police protection to those facilities, as well as maintain the infrastructure serving them.
However, Jackson is not reimbursed for those services through ad valorem collections.
To accommodate for tax-exempt losses and for a shrinking tax base, the city has approved two-mill property tax increases in each of the last two years.
The state has also chipped in, with lawmakers setting up the “capitol complex improvement district,” or CCID.
Beginning in August, the state will begin allocating money to the city to address infrastructure needs within it.
The district was set up to help offset Jackson’s costs for maintaining infrastructure serving state buildings. For the first year, the city will receive $3.2 million, an amount that will increase to $7 million the next year, and then to $11 million a year for each year after that.