Dr. 亚历克斯·库姆斯, assistant professor of public administration and policy, recently published research on the connection between homestead exemptions and funding for rural education systems. 他的文章, “The Effects of 首页stead Exemptions for Seniors and Disabled 人 on School Districts,” uses data from Kentucky school districts to examine these impacts.
首页stead exemptions reduce the value of property that is subject to taxes. This means that those who qualify for these exemptions – in the case of Dr. 库姆斯的研究, 老年人 and disabled people – pay less in property taxes than those who do not qualify for an exemption. Almost every state has at least one homestead exemption program, but their features can look very different from state to state. 例如, the exemption may be a set dollar amount or a percent of property value or the exemptions may be available to all homeowners, while others target one or more groups such as veterans, 老年人, 或者那些有残疾的人. A state may also impose an income cap on eligibility or limit the benefit that can be received.
“首页stead exemptions provide property tax relief,” Dr. 库姆斯解释说. “I suspect the most likely rationale for directing this relief toward senior and disabled populations is because they typically have a fixed income.”
One important feature of these exemption programs that Dr. Combs and his co-author consider is whether states reimburse local governments for the revenue lost to exemptions. If a state does not reimburse local governments, then this sort of homestead exemption potentially enhances vertical equity of the combined state-local tax system at no apparent cost to the state.
“I was at a conference where a few superintendents of rural districts mentioned property tax exemptions as an obstacle to adequate and equitable funding,” Dr. 库姆斯解释说. “这是一个明智的结论, but most studies find that property tax exemptions increase spending on education.”
然而,博士. 库姆斯指出, it is possible that with so much variation in exemptions across the states, that some may impede funding towards school districts. 特别是, those exemptions targeted towards 老年人 and disabled people may disproportionately impact rural education, as rural areas tend to have more of both eligibility groups.
“[So], this type of exemption disproportionately erodes rural tax bases, but it is unclear whether this erosion overpowers the positive impact on educational spending generally found in research,” Dr. 库姆斯说. “This was a question my co-author and I wanted to investigate, and Kentucky provides useful context on this front.”
“Its rural districts have more 老年人 as well as some of the highest disability rates in the country,他接着说. ”也, whereas most states have multiple exemption programs with overlapping eligibility criteria that would complicate analysis, 肯塔基州只有一个例外.”
Using data from the Kentucky Department of Revenue and the National Center of 教育 Statistics (NCES), Dr. Combs and his co-author found that Kentucky’s exemption does not appear to substantially impact the distribution of resources between rural and nonrural school districts.
“总的来说, the results suggest that Kentucky’s homestead exemption provides relatively generous tax relief to senior and disabled homeowners without significantly reducing the resources available to nearly all districts,” Dr. 库姆斯说. This provides evidence for using these exemptions to advance equity goals for governments, since those eligible for targeted exemptions belong to groups for which governments may want to improve equity based on values, 政治, 或者其他东西, 比如老年人或残疾人.
然而, there is opportunity for future research to focus on the variations in both exemption programs and school funding formulas across the states.
“Our results are largely driven by Kentucky’s school finance equalization effort, so it may be useful to study similarly targeted exemptions in states with different school funding formulas,”他总结.