Land Value Taxation - HOW?

Here we list suggestions for strategic planning

Center for the Study of Economics

July 26, 2006

I’ve been CC’ed on this, so I assume my input is desired.

The foundation I direct has been getting cities to adopt LVT where it is appropriate to do so. Milwaukee is a natural for LVT from the evidence: population loss, land vacancy, absentee landlordism, etc.

There is a checklist I’ve discovered for going from education to acceptance to implementation. It is not a long one:

1. Meetings (already started by Mr. Smith and Mr. Wetzel) to introduce a few people to the idea. they will then open doors to the greater Milwaukee community.

2. Exploration of the legal possibilities of LVT. We’re told that Wisconsin is not constitutionally friendly to the concept because of the strict tax provisions. To that, I’d say that the Pennsylvania Constitution seems unfriendly as well, and yet we have 21 jurisdictions using it. If the zeitgeist wants LVT, it shall have LVT. So, a friendly legislator can: a. Ask the Attorney-General for an opinion (we are doing this now in Ohio, and did so in Virginia and Maryland) b. Submit legislation asking for a legislative study of LVT.

3. Do the research on LVT for each property in Milwaukee, so that we may see the impact. I’d suggest that the study be a traditional policy study for the wonks, but there be a parallel track such as which exists so that citizens can see how their house, their block or their neighborhood will fare under LVT. It has helped vault us into the tax and urban policy debate quickly and rather inexpensively.

4. Ask the citizens/activists to speak to their elected leaders. A good-government website. here in Philadelphia has been useful in this regard. There is a section on LVT, and it has helped us get (at one point) thousands of people to City Hall. We didn’t win, but I believe we forced the idea of good valuations/assessments (happening now) and several candidates for Mayor now support LVT.

5. Pass the annual budget ordinance with two rates on land and buildings instead of one!

I volunteer the services of CSE in this effort.


Joshua Vincent, Director
Center for the Study of Economics
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 604
Philadelphia, Pa 19102 USA

Last edited by bs.   Page last modified on July 26, 2006

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