Incentive Taxation
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Recent Posts

LVT in Los Angeles? Op-Ed says go for it.
Welcome to the Zany World of NYC's Property Tax
Land Value Taxation in Jamaica: Now More Than Ever
Part 1, Land Value Taxation: Politics, Persuasion, and Practicality - A How-To
2016: Another Year of Advances and Retrenchment

Most Popular Posts

Noted UK Think Tank: Tax Land Values
Eliminating the property tax? It must not happen, but we’ll see what happens.
Altoona, PA: City tax wholly on land values = normality
Land Value Tax in Britain: Progress While the Rear Guard Digs In
Dr. Herbert Barry's Proposal to Really Reassess Allegheny County

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Incentive Taxation

Current News Item

Land Value Taxation in Jamaica: Now More Than Ever


What They Want You to See



What They Don't Want you to See Behind the Green Curtain
 


For 500 years, Jamaica has been a byword for lush tropical beauty, pristine beaches and the Parrot-Head lifestyle deluxe.  Dozens of nonstop flights from North America and Europe land daily to whisk away carefree tourists to fabulous resorts carefully cut off from the everyday life of Jamaica. Therein lies the problem.
The Jamaica fantasy rarely references the elimination of the Taino and Arawak people.

2016: Another Year of Advances and Retrenchment


1.       Education. Most of the world is not aware that there are alternatives to our current system of taxation and looking at how society functions. Most especially, the collection of economic rent as propounded through the centuries by Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Tom Paine, Henry George all the way down to Joseph Stiglitz as an alternative to the failed policies of Socialism and Neoliberalism.

Podcast Features Millbourne, PA, LVT aids town in fiscal rebirth











      Council President Skariah                                      Mayor Kramer


Millbourne Pennsylvania, is one of oursmaller but gutsier LVT towns.  It is strategically placed just outside Philadelphia city limits in Delaware County PA, along a vital road and commuter  rail corridor. This article sets up a podcast (below) describing the town's struggles of being in the grips of one large vacant lot, an intransigent owner, and its hopes for the future.

Hartford Connecticut Explores Land Value Tax to Battle Parking Lot Blight





















It Used to be a Hilton

Hartford Connecticut while perhaps not the wealthiest city in the US during the Gilded Age, came close to the ideal of the American City and the American Dream: a city where wealth was created, work was plentiful, public amenities dotted the city landscape and optimism never ran dry.  

Now, in the year 2016, the Hartford paradox – one of thenation’s poorest citiessurrounded by the nation’s wealthiest state – is flirting withmunicipal insolvency. It limits the city’s ability to act independently to revive itself.

Taxing Sugar: Noble or Nanny State?


For anybody who doesn't live or work in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, it's nearly impossible to describe the anger and confusion generated by a bitter argument over whether pre-K, rec centers, and public pensions should be paid for by a tax on sugar sweetened soft drinks (SSD if you want to talk the nifty jargonese of academia).  

Philly's Choice: Fund needed programs with Gatorade or land values?











As always, the answer is in the numbers...



It's nowadays accepted that beverages with added sugar are bad. New York City a few years ago had it's own psychodrama on Big Gulps and Frappuccinos, when the unlikely nanny state of Michael Bloomberg tried to impose a tax on sugary drinks as a public health measure. It was eventually defeated in court, but the idea is still very popular by those who have no problem telling other people what to put into their mouths.

Certainly, soda probably not the best thing one could drink.

Pittsburgh: The disappearing Black community and land value














Homewood: A Storied History


In the middle of all the nonstop happy talk about the revitalizing urbanification of older Rust Belt cities likeBuffalo, Cleveland and our old friend Pittsburgh,UrbanTools notes that the benefit falls on a very narrow slice of the body politic: the development "community" and other hustlers who ask that government pays for their slick new condos and apartments for transient Millennials.  Meanwhile, all of these cities are losing population and unemployment rates are still high.

To Where will the Sugary Drinks Spill?


Philadelphia. A great city strategically placed on the East Coast halfway between New York City and Washington DC. 

Yet, it's fiscal crisis has been a fact of life for decades, with no end in sight. Philadelphia is a great paradox, and explaining why takes patience and the willingness to question great assumptions.






Philadelphia. Of the 10 largest cities in the United States, it is the poorest. It has problems such as crumbling infrastructure, ballooning expenses, and struggling schools and neighborhoods.

Can Connecticut Regain Traction?





















In living memory, Connecticut was the Gold Standard for how a state could be run for all the people from poor to middle class to wealthy.  Starting in 1991 with the advent of state income tax, and increased business taxation, Connecticut started a barely noticeable decline that hasaccelerated dramaticallyin recent years.  

Forbes magazine is just the latest harbinger of “for whom the Bell tolls” bad business environment rankings for Connecticut.  Both sides of the aisle are just now starting to realize that growth that does not involve private investment and personal work is not real growth, it’s a debt or an obligation put off for later.

The US Environmental Protection Agency Recommends LVT in new publication



UrbanTools is pleased to see that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recommending exploration of land value taxationfor distressed and struggling communities, the number of which are increasing exponentially even after the supposed end of the Great Recession. 

Titled “Attracting Infill Development in Distressed Communities: 30 Strategies” and published by the Office of Sustainable Communities Smart Growth Program, the document describes how land value tax works and highlights the fact that Pennsylvania is the leader in the effort (we note modestly).

Land value tax back on front burner: Lancaster Pennsylvania

Revisiting the land value tax in Lancaster


For some years, the visionary Mayor ofLancasterPennsylvaniaRick Gray has worked tirelessly with his team to return one of the oldest and most distinguished of American cities to its rightful place as a muscular economic and cultural hub of Lancaster County and Amish country.

Mayor Rick Gray: I've got an Idea.

Mayor Gray has also been a firm advocate of land value tax, yet peculiar valuations imposed on the city by Lancaster County have been a political barrier.

Frederick Maryland: Finding a Cure for Blight

















Downtown Frederick Maryland: No More Lights Out?





Frederick Magazinehas been around 30 years, covering that beautiful old city in Maryland and the surrounding countryside. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the travel tips, restaurant coverage, and its beautiful visual explorations to visit, live, and work.

The magazine also covers the not so pleasant realities that any city of any size must deal with. People may be surprised that such a lovely city near the center of national wealth in Washington DC also suffers from commercial and residential blight.

A national solution for local government finances?


Doctor Herbert Barry, professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, is always looking for a better way. Joining thinkers like Joseph Stiglitz and James Galbraith, here is a recent submission by Doctor Barry into the marketplace of ideas, from the Pittsburgh post-Gazette:














Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Friday, March 27, 2015

 Unimproved land tax
 
     A   March 19 article described a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to increase revenues for the Pennsylvania government to support early education (“Wolf: Billions in Revenue From Proposed Sales Tax”).

Quick movement on LVT Extension Legislation in Connecticut



On February 4, 2015 , just a few days into the Connecticut legislature's 2015 session, the Land Value Tax expansion bill was accepted for action and testimony by a unanimous bipartisan vote of the joint Planning and Development Committee voted in favor this time. This is particularly quick considering past practice.

Butt Out: Philadelphia’s cigarette tax will fail and make the city more fragile.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania even after decades of heavy lifting by the taxpayers is still lurching from crisis to crisis, with the root cause based in fiscal uncertainty.  Philadelphia and its nearly insolvent school district still has not discovered a true “fit for purpose” revenue source that will provided - at the very least - revenue stability.  Poor, working and middle-class people pay a larger share of their incomes on tax than in nearly any other American city.  Turning to those who can least afford to pay ought to be the last choice, but ironically in Philadelphia it’s nearly always the first choice.

Land Value Tax featured in the Financial Times

Altoona's Future Includes a land value based policy.


The September 24, 2014 edition of the Financial Times features an article on a subject not often covered by the mainstream media: land value taxation.  Interest in LVT has been highlighted in the past several years in the UK by such respected columnists as Martin Wolf.

Now the US edition of the FT has weighed in with an article entitled"Land of Opportunity" by Robin Harding, a well-respected economics writer and editor.

The article concentrates on one of the cities that implements a version of land value taxation:

More evidence confirms the error of stopping land value tax in Pittsburgh

Q. What happens when a city taxes buildings more at the beginning of the greatest building boom in American history?
A. Not much.


One of the best examples of the efficacy of land value tax (LVT) was careful study of the city of Pittsburgh culminating in theOates/Schwab study of Pittsburgh published in 1997which concluded all things being equal land value tax policy had the effect of unleashing construction demand – especially downtown construction –just as the steel industry collapsed, and just as the US entered a significant recessionary period (late 1970s and early 1980s)

Property tax caps for user fees; what could be better? Almost anything

Tax Caps and User Fees: Caution Needed

Six Houses all in a row, assessed at the same value of $100,000 at a tax rate of 1%. Taxes still rise, while local government seeks alternative funds in flat fees for services, such as trash pick up.










Regressivity is a more common outcome of user charges than is commonly acknowledged. That ought to change. City services based on value (i.e. a user charge on publicly created land values) can be made more progressive than resorting to invisible charges or flat fees.

To Piketty or not to Piketty? Michael Kinsley and the Echoes of Henry George
















Kinsley, Piketty and Henry

Michael Kinsleyhas had a long and distinguished career writing about politics and sometimes economics from the left-center perspective. UrbanTools has noticed that for decades he often prefaces an essay or column with " my favorite economist, the 19th-century AmericanHenry George, and his best-selling book, Progress and Poverty (1879)." Well, we like Henry George too, so it's always nice to see how Kinsley uses Henry George situationally.

Cui Bono? This time in Australia.







The Australian Capital Territory is rapidly becoming the state government most willing to experiment with forms of taxation that serve the interests of both the public, fair play, and economic logic. Generally, it is trying to move away from taxes that burden workers and business and crater the economy to a more classical approach of its self funding cycle of revenue.

Case in point:the ACT has committed to avery ambitious light rail program, expected to boost the regional economy dramatically in the coming decades.