Incentive Taxation
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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

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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

Property Assessment

Welcome to the Zany World of NYC's Property Tax

"To talk about 'good' and 'tax policy' in the same breath when you're talking about the New York City property tax is impossible," said Dick Netzer, an emeritus professor of public administration at New York University and a leading authority on city's property taxes. "It's a foul institution."

New York City's property taxhas always been a thing of mystery, arcane practice,with a hint of mayhem.   A current lawsuitunder way may in the long-term peel back the lid of built-in inequity and unfairness, but what has been a somewhat amusing example of unintended consequences has finally become an emergency.

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.

Part 1, Land Value Taxation: Politics, Persuasion, and Practicality - A How-To

An Idea Worth Implementing

Ask nearly any economist. Discover what left and right can agree on. It’s the political and economic philosophy that reconciles and validates the needs of both community and the individual.  What do you have?

Land Value Tax

Land Value Tax; also called site value rating, the single tax, economic rent, incentive taxation, the Smart tax, well you get the point.

It’s a Great Idea, Now What?

One of the most important questions that the Center for the Study of Economics – a.k.

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.

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.

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:

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.

Philadelphia's New Real Estate Values: Land Value Tax to Cure AVI Blues?

No More either/Or: What's Philadelphia worth?

For years Philadelphia Pennsylvania has been an outlier among American cities (and internationally) for its menu ofstrange taxes on business andonerous levieson residents that have savage effects upon the local economy.  For years, people who think about tax issues have proposed over and over again reducing reliance on these corrosive and self-destructive levies, that have driven jobs and capital out of the city squeezing the traditional middle class in particular.

The Philly Assessments Cometh, Part One

2013 heralds something considered cataclysmic in Philadelphia but is routine in the rest of the world: a new assessment for property tax purposes.  From Podunk to Portland (Oregon or Maine), assessment officers and departments apply land and building values to each property, the community figures out how much revenue it needs and divides it by those values.  Voilà, you get a property tax rate, and then send out a bill. 

A  very little history 

Nothing is ever quite that simple in the city that UrbanTools loves.

You're so respectable: two stories about terrible land use in Philadelphia

Story One - Take a Peep at This

Our perceptive friends atKeystone Politics, haveposted an observationabout the latest embarrassment on the Philadelphia land-use front.  Long story short, for years a patch of Market Street has been infested (literally and figuratively) by some low-rise, low-rent, low class buildings housing one of the few porno "palaces" left in Philadelphia.  The anchor of the Keystone post isan article in the Philadelphia Inquirer by the redoubtable

A year-end gift of land value tax and good management: stable revenues

Council member Keith Bromley marked the difficulty of the achievement by highlighting the trouble so many other cities run into trying to pass a balanced budget, saying,"You look at other communities. They haven't been able to do this. It's a significant thing for us." December 2012

Since 1991, the city of Titusville Pennsylvania, the city of the third class in the northwest corner of the state has used land value tax as its primary source of municipal revenue.  So far, through two recessions and a general innervation of the Northeast states, Titusville has achieved what some might think is boring, but any municipal government would love: stable revenues with no need for tax increases.

Philadelphia on the cusp of new real estate values, again. Part 25

Philadelphia Pennsylvania has been staring hard into the face of essential tax reform. Unhappily, it's been doing so since at least the late 1980s.  The newest twist was last spring's budget process, wherein new values meant to establish meaningful tax rates were delayed. 

The legislative body of Philadelphia was split into many groups with different concerns. Some Council members understood fully that their constituents had been getting away with paying almost nothing in property taxes for decades.

Land Value Tax on the Radio: How to turn Scranton around

An item that has been making Front Page news lately has been the mess into which Scranton, PA  has sunk.  Wecommented, and got lots of response.  The nicest was fromDavid Madeira, a talk show host for 94.3 FM.  He asked UT director Joshua Vincent to come on and make sense of the fiscal and economic history behind Scranton's woes and our proposal to let Scranton return to fiscal sanity by  using a tool it already, but barely uses: the land value tax.

One More Voice for a Philadelphia Land Value Tax

Strawberry Mansions Forever?

Since the early 1990s, the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors  has endorsed and advocated for land value tax in Philadelphia to both boost capital and property markets. After all, brokers make their earnings on a living - not a moribund - market.

Therefore, it's helpful to know that in the face of an oncoming reassessment in Philadelphia calledAVI (Actual Value Initiative),Realtors are again looking to land value tax as a way forward.

How to mend the Property Tax

Assaults on the property tax have been commonplace in the US (and Australia,New Zealand, etc.) in the past few decades.  We think that the property has a lot wrong with it; but its a situation that calls for a scalpel not an atom bomb.  Here are some basic alternative solutions, including the land value tax as a way to abolish the tax on buildings.

Four Ameliorations for Assessment Increases or Tax Increases: an Analysis
William Batt, Ph.D., Joshua Vincent, ED

Flint Michigan: a bold Mayor with a bold idea.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling
Flint's Dayne Walling - a Mayor open to ideas and opportunities for his city

The story ofFlint Michiganneed not be retold here. The story of Flint is the story of many Rustbelt cities from Troy New York to St. Louis Missouri.  Existing for decades as a city with good jobs for all that wanted one, a city that rewarded enterprise and hard work. The downturn of the US automobile industry  was recently (But chimerically) reversed by pumping billions of taxpayer dollars to Chrysler and General Motors, yet has had little effect on the city itself.

Philadelphia faces a true Rubicon: the time for reassessment is now.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania like most cities, counties and states have had to deal with tight budgets for nearly half a decade.  For many reasons, not least of which are legacy expenses, revenue requirements will be increasing even as economies at the local and regional level still  react sluggishly as the great recession of 2008 begins its ebb tide.
A complicating factor in Philadelphia's fiscal struggle is the reality that it's tax system is nearly unique in United States as the

Taiwan to reform property values, will help revenue and tax transparency.

Abandoning outdated land values will harmonize Taiwan's many species of land and property taxes...
Christine Liu, Taiwan's Finance Minister

(photo: CW)

The tax policies of Taiwan has always made it a successful outlier, one of the few Asian Tigers to prosper right after World War II, and doing well until the recent global slump.  A lynchpin of that policy is value-based land taxation.  Even though the agricultural land tax is moribund (since 1985), it has been argued that the goal of that tax, to free up large estates (in the manner Denmark's

Dr. Herbert Barry's Proposal to Really Reassess Allegheny County

UrbanTools got underway as the Henry George Foundation of America in Pittsburgh in 1926.  Through the years, some of the most respected elected officials in Western Pennsylvania such as Pennsylvania Gov. David Lawrence, and mayors Scully and McNair served on our Board of Directors.

During those 85+ years, Pittsburgh and other Allegheny County cities and school districts have utilized land value taxation as a tool to discourage private land banking and to encourage all levels of investment and labor inside municipal boundaries.

Ireland's New Property Tax: Not Ready for Prime Time

Kim Broughton/Polaris
Quick quiz: what's the best use of this Irish land?
Irish property bust provides literal fodder.

The New Year brought the first iteration of the property tax in Ireland.  In one way, it is a welcome advance in a nation where a land value bubble still reverberates like so many Block Buster bombs. 

Hectares ofhalf-built or abandoned"luxury" condos and homes littler the greater Dublin area, after the spectacle ofwild-eyed lending that led to property loans making up easily mare than 2/3rds of all bank lending.