Property taxes vary widely across the United States with over 13,500 local governments having authority to assess both real and personal property, unless specifically exempt by law. All states allow local governments to set their own tax rates even though many states place limits on their rates.
The Assessor-Treasurer's Office must determine the property tax base for each taxing district and ensure that district levies are not more than allowed by law. This system of ad valorem taxation uses the assessed value and the total tax base for the district in which the parcel is located to calculate the amount of property taxes owing for each parcel.
Property tax is collected to support the administration of the state, county, port, road district, rural library, metropolitan park, cities and towns, schools, fire protections districts and miscellaneous taxing districts.
The maximum regular tax rate is set by the state legislature. Excess levies or local levies are approved by voters at the polls and include bond issues, maintenance and operation and capital improvements. Voters within a district determine their own tax burden by either approving or disapproving excess levy requests for money.