Land Value Tax Series
The property tax punishes modest improvements and rewards steady decline. People who take steps to add value to their property pay more taxes, while slumlords and speculators pay less. There are a lot of reasons for cities to switch to a tax on land value, and more states should allow cities to make that change.
Even the fastest-growing cities have them: under-utilized lots in the center of town whose owners don’t want to develop, but also don’t want to sell. Often, the property tax code rewards this kind of land speculation.
Since 1913, Pennsylvania has allowed cities to tax land at a higher rate than buildings. This decision has led to some unique success stories: cities that have weathered post-industrial decline and revitalized their urban cores.
In cities all over America, we deter people from revitalizing neighborhoods by punishing them with higher taxes for improving their property. A change in how we tax property could fix these incentives.
Taxing land rather than improvements is a good idea whose time has come. Why aren’t more places already doing it? And how can you make the case for it in your city?
Our prevailing property tax system rewards those who sit on valuable land and leave it idle, while punishing with higher taxes those who put it to productive use. And for that, our buddy the speculator just wants to say, "Thanks, neighbor."
A land value tax is a tax assessed on the value of a piece of land, rather than the value of the buildings that sit on that land. Many cities switch to a land tax to encourage neighborhood investment and renewal. We've combined our best content on the land value tax approach in this free e-book.
Conventional approaches to property taxation can be summed up as follows: “No good deed goes unpunished.” The Land Value Tax is the surprisingly simple alternative—and it can help spur the kind of growth we actually need.
Attorney and job creation, transportation efficiency and economic development expert Rick Rybeck joins Chuck Marohn to talk about taxes, fees and creating incentives for a better land use approach.
In this six-minute video, Chuck Marohn explains the difference between property tax and land value tax (georgism), why it makes sense, and the reason we do not use it more often.