Local Government Tax and Land Use Policies in the United States: Understanding the Links

By Helen F. Ladd; Lincoln Institute of Land Policy | Go to book overview
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In 1984-85, about 4.4 per cent of total county-assessed value was in TIF projects, with the county range of 0 to 6.7 per cent.
One additional effect also occurred. In real, per capita, terms, the total revenue received by all units of government in California increased between 1977-78 and 1991-92. A good part of the stress was associated with the earmarking of this revenue for specific programmes (ranging from education to spending on anti-smoking ads), rather than the aggregate level of revenues. TIF continued this trend because the increment was earmarked for debt service, and the sales taxes ultimately generated went back to the jurisdiction.
Sales tax revenues are subvened by the state to the local jurisdiction by point of sale.
A constitutional amendment passed in 1986 that allowed property tax rate increases for GO financing upon a two-thirds vote.
Multiple lawsuits forced Hemet to repeal the redevelopment project. Hemet has a population of about 50 000.
As the California State Senate Committee notes, the 're' in redevelopment became less important. The average size of a redevelopment project increased by 80 per cent in the five years following Proposition 13 ( California State Senate Committee on Housing and Land Use, 1995).
The 1993 legislation was the first to define blight in statute. Generally, the project area must be urbanized, with conditions that cause serious physical and economic burdens that can't be ameliorated without economic development ( California Redevelopment Association, 1994). The new definition eliminated lack of public infrastructure as a justification for TIF and social blight is ignored.
Schools still received about 20 per cent of their revenues through the property tax. The state was also under a court order to reconstitute the public school financing mechanisms, and thus it used this opportunity to attempt to solve both Proposition 13 and school financing problems at the same time ( Fischel, 1994).
This range was derived as follows. For the worst case, assume that no redevelopment activity was necessary and therefore assessed value would increase by $1.5 billion, of which about $750 million would go to schools. If schools received no money through negotiation, the state would have to give them the $750 million under its current education funding laws. For the best case, assume that there would have been no increment without the redevelopment activity. In this case, the schools would have lost no money through negotiation and the state would not have had to provide any additional backfill ( Gumucio, 1995).
Although these are California changes, many of the case studies indicate that similar types of problem appear whenever TIF is used.
Declaring that a disaster has occurred appears to be becoming more popular ( Legislative Analyst's Office, 1994).


Anderson, John E. ( 1990), "Tax increment financing: municipal adoption and growth", National Tax Journal, XLIII ( 2), 155-63.

Beatty, David F., Joseph E. Coomes, Jr, T. Brent Hawkins, Edward J. Quinn, Jr and Iris P. Yang ( 1994), Redevelopment in California, 2nd edn, Pt Arena, CA: Solano Press.

California Debt Advisory Commission ( 1995), Recommended Practices for California Redevelopment Agencies, Sacramento: California Debt Advisory Commission.

California Redevelopment Association ( 1994), Legal Clinic on AB 1290, Sacramento: California Redevelopment Association.

California Redevelopment Association ( 1995), "Redevelopment tax incrementdecreases between 1992-93 and 1995-96"


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