Transparent Local Accounting - Top Content

John Pattison
John Pattison
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"The Real Reason Your City has No Money"

Want to understand why our cities are going broke? This essay and accompanying graphic showing value per acre in the city of Lafayette, Louisiana, tells the whole story.

"You're Ready to #DoTheMath in Your Own Town. These 6 Resources Will Help."

What kind of returns will your city actually get from its infrastructure and other public investment spending? These six resources will help you uncover the truth.

"The Foolproof City"

This essay was one of the first Strong Towns posts to clearly lay out why humbling ourselves and learning from how our ancestors built is a pragmatic, rational response to the uncertainty and complexity we face in trying to build productive places.

"The More We Grow, the Poorer We Become"

Nearly every local government in the United States is currently defaulting on their obligations to their taxpayers... But of course, no local government would ever say that.  This article explains what's going on.

"Value Per Acre Analysis: A How-To For Beginners"

This step-by-step guide shows you how to investigate the tax value per acre of developments in your city.

"Playing 'Moneyball' with Your City—An Appeal to Fellow City Managers (and Other Strong Citizens)"

The movie Moneyball offers surprising and helpful lessons for town finance. One Strong Towns member explains why.

"This Isn't an Annexation. It's a Bailout."

Annexation is a common practice in many cities, but few are doing the real math on what that costs over the long term. This story out of Mankato, Minnesota, illustrates the problem.

"We Measure Car Value Based on Miles per Gallon, Not Miles per Tank. Why Don't We Do the Same for Our Cities' Developments?"

What's "value per acre" and why does it matter for your city's future? This article succinctly explains why.

"Rethinking Property Taxes"

Property taxes are the most important local source of revenue for local governments. It is stable, transparent, and highly visible. Plus, the tax base is immobile. Yet it is also an unpopular tax. Rehabilitating the property tax can be done with two broad strategies that center the interest of taxpayers:

  • Provide accurate and fair valuation of tax liability.

  • Provide stable, predictable costs to taxpayers.

This report shows how local governments can accomplish these two strategies.


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