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How Do Your Property Taxes Stack Up?

Property taxes can be the bane of a homeowner's existence. When times are good, your home's value goes up, and your taxes go up. When times are bad, as Moneywatch editorial director Eric Schurenberg has noted, property taxes ... go up.

But now there's a new report on property taxes from the Tax Foundation that lets you know just how bad you really have it. By comparing a county's average property tax to its median income, the report measures the "bite" of property taxes.

The conclusion: the Top Ten most expensive counties for property taxes are in the New York City suburbs. Taking the prize is Passaic County, New Jersey -- see chart below.

Having owned a home in Nassau County, which ranks number three overall, I can easily believe this. Property taxes there average a whopping 8 percent of income, so that one dollar out of every twelve the average homeowner earns goes to pay the property tax.

If you're seeking refuge from property taxes, head to Louisiana instead. The median property tax in Vernon Parish is just $120, which averages out to .25% of a homeowner's income.

Let me tell you, as a real estate agent in New York City, I pay a commuter tax that's higher than that ... and, drum-roll, I ride the subway.

Enough chattering; charts! Check out the Top Ten and the Bottom Ten property tax counties below. For comparison's sake, the National median taxes paid are $1,854, for a bite of 2.85% of income.

Highest Property Tax Bite Relative to Income

(County, Median Taxes Paid, Tax as Percentage of Income)

1. Passaic County, NJ ... $7,095 ... 8.34%
2. Essex County, NJ ... $7,676 ... 8.12%
3. Nassau County, NY ... $8,306 ... 8.00%
4. Bergen County, NJ ... $7,997 ... 7.89%
5. Union County, NJ ... $7,058 ... 7.80%
6. Rockland County, NY ... $7,798 ... 7.61%
7. Westchester County, NY ... $8,404 ... 7.55%
8. Hunterdon County, NJ ... $8,347 ... 7.50%
9. Suffolk County, NY ... $6,842 ... 7.24%
10. Hudson County, NJ ... $6,155 ... 7.20%

Lowest Property Tax Bite Relative to Income

(County, Median Taxes Paid, Tax as Percentage of Income)

1. Vernon Parish, LA ... $120 ... 0.25%
2. Vermillion Parish, LA ... $138 ... 0.26%
3. Allen Parish, LA ... $119 ... 0.26%
4. Evangeline Parish, LA ... $127 ... 0.26%
5. Beauregard Parish, LA ... $132 ... 0.27%
6. Webster Parish, LA ... $125 ... 0.27%
7. Jefferson Davis Parish, LA ... $127 ... 0.28%
8. DeSoto Parish, LA ... $129 ... 0.28%
9. St. John the Baptist Parish, LA ... $163 ... 0.28%
10. Lafourche Parish, LA ... $152 ... 0.28%