Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "property taxes" ...

  • Detroit's Foreclosure Meltdown

    This series investigated the impact of a decade of mortgage foreclosures on Detroit neighborhoods by tracking the fate of nearly 65,000 bank foreclosed homes. We found that subprime lending and bargain-basement sales of these homes contributed to a $500 million loss for the city in unpaid property taxes and demolition costs. http://www.detroitnews.com/topic/046a3a7c-ed6d-4afb-876a-d7800dd4a513/detroits-foreclosure-meltdown/
  • Detroit's foreclosure meltdown

    This series investigated the impact of a decade of mortgage foreclosures on Detroit neighborhoods by tracking the fate of nearly 65,000 bank foreclosed homes. We found that subprime lending and bargain-basement sales of these homes contributed to a $500 million loss for the city in unpaid property taxes and demolition costs.
  • Tracking Your Tax Dollars: Delinquent Property Taxes

    Oklahoma is ranked 49th in the country when it comes to funding education. Property taxes make up at least a quarter of a school district's entire budget. We started investigating and discovered Tulsa County alone was owed $10 million in delinquent property taxes. Further investigation uncovered that the entity that owed the most in delinquent property taxes was the state of Oklahoma. It owed $2 million just to Tulsa County. Here's why: Basically, to entice a manufacturing company to come to Oklahoma, the state offers tax incentives. The state tells manufacturer X we'll pay your property taxes, if you come here. The state has made the promise to hundreds of businesses. However, the state can't afford to pay the taxes that it has promised to pay to 56 different counties in Oklahoma. The state was behind on paying the counties the manufacturers' property taxes. The state owed a total of $26 million to counties across the state, which affects hundreds of school districts. Meanwhile, students are crammed into overcrowded classrooms because districts don't have enough money to hire more teachers. We found of the property taxes owed, the portion that would go to Tulsa Public Schools, would be enough to hire 200 additional teachers. We took our findings to state Senator Sean Burrage. He not only said the state needs to pay its property taxes, but he is writing legislation to mandate the state pay up. The legislation is to ensure that there is enough money in the state's fund to pay for the manufacturers property taxes. Burrage has also talked to senate leadership about his concerns and is working to gain support from fellow lawmakers. The legislative session starts in early February, that's when he will officially file his bill.
  • Depreciating Values

    Our seven month investigation revealed how a long time property assessor manipulated property values for a handful of wealthy citizens and political supporters, so they would pay less in property taxes. We also showed how some large apartment complexes disappeared from the county tax rolls. Now the state is seeking to collect back taxes from nearly 200 property owners going back three years and the FBI and IRS are investigating.
  • Taxing Baltimore

    Baltimore City' s high property tax rate is often cited as a major drag on its ability to keep and and attract both residents and businesses. Our reporting showed, for the first time, how a decades-old tax credit for homeowners has made it nearly impossible for the city to cut its rate, while also causing massive disparities in tax bills even when houses have the same value.
  • A Question of Values

    The series revealed rampant problems within the powerful county boards in Ohio that make sure property values set by the country are fair. Findings from the series include board members routinely skipping workdays, decisions being made without public hearings, and tax breaks given to friends of board members.
  • "Fighting New Jersey's Tax Crush"

    The Abury Park Press takes an in-depth look at the tax system in New Jersey. Based on empirical evidence, reporters found New Jersey's system to have the highest costs in the nation due to property taxes being based on the "what the town says" is the worth of your house. Low- and middle-income homes are paying more than the wealthy, and many businesses are being forced to close or move out of the state due to tax increases.
  • Tax Travesty

    Philadelphia property taxes levies were plagued with inequalities aimed at gaining favor of residents with political clout. Overall, the investigation uncovers how the mission of the Board of Revision of Taxes, which is to accurately assess property values, failed because of consistent practice of undervaluing the homes of wealthy residents.
  • Tax Travesty

    The story looks at how attempts to abolition Philadelphia's corrupt property tax agency, the Board of Revision of Taxes, was stymied by connected insiders and political connections.
  • The Taxman and the Truth

    This investigation explores Texas' high property taxes, which are based on valuation of land by a government appraiser. The investigation reveals that appraisals are often made with incomplete data about home prices in the area. Consequently, appraisal values are often off by as much as ten percent and sometimes more.