The Dwindling, and Highly Necessary, Property Tax

Tax caps, assessment limitations, and other property tax relief programs have caused significant damage to the largest source of revenue for ailing cities, says a new book by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

From the press release:

"Erosion of the Property Tax Base: Trends, Causes, and Consequences, edited by Nancy Y. Augustine, Michael E. Bell, David Brunori, and Joan Youngman(...), details how a variety of policies designed to reduce property tax burdens -- and to accomplish other social and economic goals through property tax exemptions or abatements – has threatened the largest single source of state and local revenues across the country.

"A tax with a broad base and low rates is generally simpler, fairer, and more efficient than one that raises the same revenue with high rates on a narrow base," said Joan Youngman, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Valuation and Taxation at the Lincoln Institute. But, she added, "A variety of political, social, and economic factors make the tax a prime target for reduction, limitation, and exemption proposals."

This is in part because the property tax is a highly visible tax, and requires cash payments even if property may not be yielding cash income."

Full Story: Property tax base erodes just when needed most, experts say

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