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Tax Reform to Release Land

Taxes on land and buildings are important influences on land use, and are within the control of government. Real estate taxes are a major source of revenue to local governments (LGs) in the United States, as well as being a major cost of owning property. Currently under legal attack in the United States is the local real estate tax as the backbone of public school finance. The premise is that children should not be deprived of reasonable education because their school district lacks an adequate tax base. Regardless of any reforms in this system of local taxing for local services, it seems probable that real estate taxes will persist at some level of government —they are too important a source of revenue to be abandoned. They might or might not be reduced.

In Marion Clawson (ed.), Modernizing Urban Land Policy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1973, pp. 115-52. Republished in Compact Cities: a Neglected Way of Conserving Energy, (Congressman Henry Reuss), Joint Hearings, Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; and Committee on Interstate and Foreign commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, 96th Congress 1st Sess., Washington: USGPO, 1980, pp. 246-82. Republished in Kenneth Wenzer (ed.), 1999, Land-Value Taxation, Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, pp.58-99.

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