Flint Michigan: a bold Mayor with a bold idea.
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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 of Flint Michigan need 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. With all this,Flint could have given up, but it appears they are looking for ways to bring their community back together to heal it, and make it whole again.

Economic collapse is quickly followed by societal collapse. Like Camden New Jersey or Reading Pennsylvania, Flint is dangerous on many levels.  Flint needs stable municipal revenues to help combat these problems.

Second term Mayor Dayne Walling has decided to do something very rare: look at new ideas. In this recent column from the Bridge, a locally based newspaper reporting on Central Michigan, Mayor Walling proposes several sensible ideas to help Michigan cities, not least of which is the land value tax.  To do this, Michigan will need a new approach to property assessment and tax law,because Proposal A limits values to something called "taxable value" which is skewed the property tax and it's valuations out of all relation to market value. Yet, current tax reform bills would provide tax relief to nonresidential property, with no clear revenue replacement for cities that need tax dollars just to survive and operate.  Tax reform has to be for everybody.

We wish Mayor Walling luck and give him our support.

An interesting video journey through Flint shows both a grim reality and the potential for rebirth.  Underneath each shattered and abandoned building, is the land. In Flint as elsewhere, land and its value can serve as a resource while the city finds a new way.
Flint Michigan is Much More than a Michael Moore Movie.

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Flint, Michigan: Urban Decay in the USA
Abandoned and vandalized homes and businesses. July 2009

11 Comments to Flint Michigan: a bold Mayor with a bold idea.:

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Gina on Thursday, May 10, 2012 8:29 AM
What can a land value tax do that aerotropolis or Next Michigan Development Corporation(NMDC)could not?
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Joshua Vincent on Thursday, May 10, 2012 5:13 PM
Dear Gina - Thank you for posting. I think the land value tax that Mayor Walling describes, and what the Center helps implement can exist as a support for the Next Michigan concept. Michigan needs programs of heroic scope to get projects off the ground. They are by necessity of a temporary nature though: they forego much tax revenue and Michigan simply can't afford many of the projects at present. () Yet, once the financial benefits expire, a land value tax will help keep the tax burden on the new capital and labor investment at a reasonable level. And, since NMDC projects are meant to "float all boats" a land value tax would untether surrounding areas and transit corridors from the burdens of the current tax system. Because NMDC projects are tied to inter-modal and aerotropolis concepts (a place intimately tied to commercial and passenger air transport), a land value tax can help leverage the higher land values into revenue to sustain communities and an incentive to build or renovate. Land value tax creates an environment for capital creation and long-term retention. I hope this answered your question.

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