Incentive Taxation
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Part 1, Land Value Taxation: Politics, Persuasion, and Practicality - A How-To
2016: Another Year of Advances and Retrenchment
Part 2 - Land Value Taxation: Politics, Persuasion, and Practicality - A How-To
Podcast Features Millbourne, PA, LVT aids town in fiscal rebirth
Hartford Connecticut Explores Land Value Tax to Battle Parking Lot Blight

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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

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.

Part 2 - Land Value Taxation: Politics, Persuasion, and Practicality - A How-To

In a recent post,UrbanTools/CSE broke the ice with some short snippets of an interview conducted by Jacob Schwartz Lucas ofEarthsharing.orgthat describe what we believe are critical first steps in discussing land value taxation, how to interest people, how to maintain momentum, and finally how to implement LVT.  Produced by Earthsharing, it links to three distinct avenues to LVT understanding and acceptance.

The question then arises what to do if interest is piqued?

If the reader has time (and no need to watch it all at once), here’s a presentation/discussion that UrbanTools/CSE gave at the invitation of the

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.

Day In, Day Out: an UrbanTools Diary by CSE


We are happy to present a new integrated diary/blog brought to you by the Center for the Study of Economics, using our street name “UrbanTools.”  That’s where we spend most of our time: traveling, meeting with communities, doing outreach, performing research and overall presenting an alternative way of looking at political economy in the real world.


The best place to start? Most likely CSE’s annual meeting of the Board of Directors[i] on November 19, 2015. With attendees in person at our physical HQ at the friends service Center at 1501 Cherry St.

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.

Adam Smith institute Joins Adam Smith in Supporting LVT



As ferment increases in the UK in 2015 over the lack of affordable housing, massive land speculation and the difficulty of native High Street businesses to pay their rates, we are pleased to see that the Adam Smith Institute understands that, like their namesake,land value taxation may be the way forward out of a fiendishly complicated local tax system that discriminates between residents and business, and rewards vacancy and blight.


As the author of the Wealth of Nations stated nicely, from The Wealth of Nations (Book 5, Chapter 2) he nicely stated:

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.