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Working Towards a Progressive Property Tax

CPTR and its parent organizations have demonstrated how a property tax can be made progressive by using the land value tax. Why? Businesses and homeowners in the lower quintiles of value benefit from the tax shift. Why? The percentage of the building’s value to its land value is higher (though individual results may vary). 

There’s also solid theoretical and empirical evidence that land value taxation turns a property tax into one that comports with principles of progressive taxation. In other words, a “progressive” tax is one in which the tax burden increases with income. As a result, high-income families pay a higher portion of the tax burden, while low- and middle-income taxpayers shoulder a relatively lower tax burden. 

This is a generally accepted practice for income taxes (except in states with a flat (ergo regressive) income tax). “Flat” means one rate for every income level (though some states exempt the first several thousands of dollars in wages). “Regressive” means low-income/wealth taxpayers pay a relatively higher percentage of the tax burden. In contrast, middle- and high-income/wealth taxpayers shoulder a relatively small tax burden. 

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Eat the Poor, Boise Edition

In a nation with so many problems, it can be jarring to be informed about issues from ‘on high.’ What’s not so harsh is finding practical solutions performed by people living with the pain. But, unfortunately, we have to come down to earth and  to be grounded for that.

A case in point comes to us from the New York Times (the ‘on high’ bit) and the people in the trenches doing the hard but noble work (in this case, City Council in Boise, Idaho).

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Moving the Land to Those Who Will Use It

So wrote one of the original robber barons of the early nineteenth century. Yet almost 200 years later, the idea of holding land as a road to riches is alive and well in New York City. Though, of course, owning land is not so bad when the owner also uses it productively, provides employment, or builds affordable houses. But owning ground to make money on it while doing nothing to it is a problem New York doesn’t need.

In 2022, New York City is facing a new onslaught from the financial sector and their hedge fund billions. The city is enormous––700 square miles. But under the current cruel system, struggling families and small businesses have the nearly impossible task of finding a decent location to live or do business.

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Proposed Property Tax Cap in Montana

Montana does not provoke heavy angst when it comes to the conversation. If one were to judge from watching the streaming smash hit Yellowstone, open conflicts over land issues (and rights) would probably seem mysterious to urban and suburbanized America. The show’s underlying theme is that of a struggle between indigenous peoples and early white occupiers. However, those antagonists seem to be missing a common, overarching and destructive enemy: the out of town (or international) corporate land grabbers, who use political influence, lawyers and violence to, literally, pave paradise.

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Puerto Rico: On the Edge of Some Very Risky Business

The Puerto Rican budget depends to a high degree on the Sales and Use Tax (IVU for its Spanish acronym)  and the Commonwealth income tax and corporation tax. To pay off hundreds of billions of dollars in bonds, Puerto Rico decided to pay off the bonds with the IVU. Current bond debt and unfunded pensions amount to about $125 billion. There is no guaranteed revenue stream to rebuild infrastructure after earthquakes and hurricanes. The Commonwealth government has made its books look good by reducing aid to municipalities. Municipalities have no own-source funding. The cost of basic needs for the populace, such as energy, export facilities, and the Jones Act, makes life on an impoverished island very expensive indeed.