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.
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 1997
which 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)
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.
Try to pay the bills when half the house doesn't contribute.
UrbanTools Highlights Harrisburg's Resilience During Unprecedented Fiscal Challenge
Last week, the parent organization of UrbanTools – the Center
for the Study of Economics (CSE) – assisted theCouncil of Georgist Organizations
to illustrate the real-life positive impact that land value taxation can have
even on the most distressed of urban areas.
CSE Director Josh Vincent guides tour of Harrisburg's mix of public and private places.
As of this writing (July 23, 2012), the city of Scranton Pennsylvania has been makingfront-page news
in the same company as Stockton and San Bernardino California. Scranton isnearly broke.
To understand why, one would have to trace the history of the city from the end of the second world war until today' here is an attempt:
First, the coal left, then the railroads that carry the coal left and then the industries that powered America for the South and then overseas. The population slumped, and as the non-residential tax base disappeared, taxes – particularly school taxes – became onerous in the form of
Three Cities, One Tax: Altoona, Sydney, Copenhagen
The beginning of 2011 saw the introduction of a city property tax that fell on land values only, unique in the history of US cities. Altoona
and hundreds of other cities that have found land value taxation a simple, effective and reliable source of revenue without causing the distortionary effects of other taxes such as sales, wage or building taxes.
The budget for 2012 has just passed
, with the Altoona Mirror reporting the rationale for the land value tax, as well as challenges that lie ahead for the city. It looks as if land value tax may be here to stay, if adjustments are made each year for changing revenue needs and real estate values. Altoona may now be ready to start replacing such taxes as the local income tax or business taxes with LVT, to better position itself for a devoutly desired economic recovery.
Last week, thedistressed
city of Reading
, Pennsylvania elected city Council President Vaughn Spencer
as mayor. Mr. Spencer is a longtime
supporter of innovative ways to finance city government and encourage development
and capital investment as a means to reverse nearly 5 decades of decline.
For years, Mr. Spencer has asked that the land value tax be
part of a comprehensive package of fiscal reforms that will keep revenue stable
will not repelling the growth of private-sector commerce and the middle-class
workers needed to stabilize neighborhoods and the tax base.