Last week, the distressed 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. With Mr. Spencer's election, Mayor and Council will jumpstart the plan and produce a comprehensive land value tax study.
Under Act 47 – a program in which the state of Pennsylvania works with distress cities – revenues and expenses are examined and recommendations made. Reading’s act 47 plan included a requirement to study the land value tax. The Center for the Study of Economics has been at the forefront of this part of the project since the beginning of the current crisis, not only for Reading, but other cities facing Act 47.