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The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

A tax based on land value is in many ways ideal, but many economists dismiss it by assuming it could not raise enough revenue. Standard sources of data omit much of the potential tax base, and undervalue what they do measure. The purpose of this paper is to present more comprehensive and accurate measures of land . . . → Read More: The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

A tax based on land value is in many ways ideal, but many economists dismiss it by assuming it could not raise enough revenue. Standard sources of data omit much of the potential tax base, and undervalue what they do measure. The purpose of this paper is to present more comprehensive and accurate measures of land . . . → Read More: The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

New Life in Old Cities

Some cities have grown in notable spurts. Some of these cities were new; others have revived after decaying. Cities’ cells, like ours, metabolize and can refresh themselves constantly. Cities need not die like us. They can continue this cycle of renewal forever, when people remodel buildings and clear and renew sites. This can happen even after periods of sickness . . . → Read More: New Life in Old Cities

The Income-Stimulating Incentives of the Property Tax

(with Richard Noyes)

Where a large share of fiscal revenue comes from property taxes, individual income tends to be high. There is a clear propensity for the local economy to grow faster than in those states which are less dependent upon the property tax than on taxes linked to income or sales.

Our findings begin with an analysis . . . → Read More: The Income-Stimulating Incentives of the Property Tax

Rising Inequality and Falling Property Tax Rates

In the sections that follow, I first document the rise of inequality in the distribution of farmland that followed a sharp drop in farm property tax rates after 1930. Then I show, by cross-sectional analysis, a positive relationship between higher property tax rates and more intensive use of farmland, which in turn is associated with more equal distribution of farmland. Conversely, . . . → Read More: Rising Inequality and Falling Property Tax Rates

Indexing Capital Gains

A CONSENSUS has emerged among centrist economists that realized capital gains, before they are taxed, should be indexed for inflation in order to exclude phantom gains. Indexing means multiplying the historical cost, or tax “basis,” of the asset by a price index before subtracting it from sales price. This, apparently reasonable proposal is, in fact, partial and dicriminatory. All assets, . . . → Read More: Indexing Capital Gains

Alternative Ways of Taxing Forests

How should the forests be taxed? All agree they should be taxed on the basis of parity and equity with other industries and resources. But, with parity in respect to what? There is no substance to “parity” until we define the base. And unfortunately almost everyone, ourselves included, tends to define the base in the manner . . . → Read More: Alternative Ways of Taxing Forests

The Synergistic City: Its Potentials, Hindrances and Fulfillment

The object of human organization is synergy, combining parts into a whole greater than their sum. Large organizations seek synergy in hierarchy and financial controls. Cities achieve it by bringing independent actors into mutual access so they can cooperate via free contracts and association in the marketplace, in government and society. This paper purports first to show how market allocation of land operates to . . . → Read More: The Synergistic City: Its Potentials, Hindrances and Fulfillment

Intergovernmental Competition for Energy Resources

Commissioner Dorgan is quite right that North Dakota, like other states, possesses a sovereign right to levy taxes in the manner of its choosing provided only that it does not discriminate against interstate commerce in a gross and overt way. I am only surprised that he feels a need to defend North Dakota’s use of its indisputable right. Anyone, . . . → Read More: Intergovernmental Competition for Energy Resources

When to Build What

This paper purports to solve a particular kind of problem that characterizes urban expansion and evolution: when replace a collection of individual apparatuses (CIA) with a mass system. Examples include replacing individual septic tanks by sewers, well to public water supply, private cars by mass transit, trash burners by public pickup, coal or fuel by line-distributed gas or electric power, . . . → Read More: When to Build What