What is Property Tax Reform?

CAN PROPERTY TAX REFORM help the propertyless, the working men and women who-labor-for-wage incomes—the majority of Americans? Property is owned by people of property—the rich. Ownership of this rich tax base is concentrated in a few hands, much more so than income. The top 10 per cent of income receivers in the United States receive something like 30 per cent of the income, and we call that concentrated. But a high share of that 30 per cent is property income, while lower bracket income is more largely composed of wages. Most property income receives privileged tax treatment of various kinds, so the effective income tax rate applied to property income is much lower than that on labor earnings. Moreover, official definitions of income are so sloppy that much property income is not even included in the data, much less taxed.
AJES 31(2):139-52, April 1972. (Originally a paper presented at Conference on Property Tax Reform, December 12, 1970, sponsored by Public Interest Research Group, George Washington University, with Ralph Nader, Sen. Edmund Muskie, Gov. Milton Shapp, Mason Gaffney, Ferdinand Schoettle, Pierpont I. Prentice, and John Rackham. Gaffney paper published by Cong. Les Aspin in The Congressional Record, March 16 1972, pp. E 2672-75.)

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