By Marilyn Rodgers
Land Value Taxation has received various reviews across the US and throughout the world. Many efforts have been quite successful and there are various reports that consider it a "must do" for revitalization. Further, cities have taken it seriously enough to create unbiased reviews for consideration and others in states such as California and Pennsylvania have each instituted LVT with success.
The "Why's and Wherefore's" of Land Value Tax are briefly listed on urbantools.org
· A shift to LVT, even when structured in a revenue-neutral manner, usually results in net tax reductions for the vast majority of residents.
· By reducing or eliminating the tax on improvements, there is a greater incentive to build, to build with higher quality materials, to maintain, to avoid blight, and to redevelop economically depressed areas.
· Cities are almost always on the "short end of the stick" when economic development dollars are handed out. This program helps achieve the same goals with no public investment.
· When cities obtain permission to give out tax abatements, they lead to a revenue loss to the community with no assured payoff later. LVT is purely revenue neutral to the city. There is no tax shifting to citizens and property owners who have already done their bit.
· A tax on land also has the advantage of being a "value capture tax". A new public works project may make adjacent land go up considerably in value, and thus, with a tax on land values, the tax on adjacent land goes up. Thus, the new public improvements would be paid for by those most benefited by the new public improvements -- i.e., those whose land value went up most.
· A tax on land has been shown to result in better land use patterns and more in-fill development. This has the benefit of reducing sprawl.
· Support for LVT cuts across political lines.
· Free-market economists like how it reduces distortions in economic decision-making.
Environmentalists like how it reduces sprawl and helps fund public transportation.
For those of you that wish to check out some sites for your own research, here are a few you can start with:
· And, some words from Kunstler - Author of "Home to Nowhere" on Earthrights.net
There are others, but this is a good start for the uninitiated. For the rest, many of you are familiar enough with the concept while others have a solid grasp. We need open dialogue to assure the voice of the citizen is heard so, we'd like to hear from you - pros and cons - your opinion of LVT for a future article and presentation to our city leadership. After all, in order to affect change we need input from people, not just pols. So, please, comment away! Thanks.