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

NOTES
1.
Land use controls of the type discussed here tend to be used less frequently by central cities, most of which are trying to encourage, rather than limit, growth. Recent stringent controls in San Francisco are an exception to this generalization. Similarly, they are less common in rural areas or, more generally, in towns outside of metropolitan areas, which also typically are more interested in promoting than in limiting growth.
2.
As noted by Hanushek and Quigley ( 1990), controls on non-residential property are harder to justify in terms of rational behaviour on the part of voters. Their figures suggest that the main beneficiaries of controls on commercial development in San Francisco are probably the owners of existing commercial property rather than the residents who voted for the controls.
3.
In addition to being denied the opportunity to attend good suburban schools, Fischel ( 1985, p. 317) also notes that the poor may have to pay high central city taxes for public services, that they are denied the advantages of living in safer, more pleasant neighbourhoods, that they are denied convenient access to suburban jobs, and that they may face higher housing prices.
4.
Presumably, however, the same problem would arise with a local income tax: families with low income would receive more in public services than they would pay in taxes.
5.
An alternative solution to the problem of fiscally motivated zoning is to increase federal and state financing for local public services. The disadvantage of this solution is the reduction in welfare that comes from the loss of local control. However, aid targeted to local jurisdictions that are fiscally disadvantaged or aid that increases with the community's openness to low income housing could potentially reduce some of the fiscal pressures for exclusionary zoning.
6.
Although the sample represents only 8 per cent of the counties in the country, the large size of the counties included means that the sample includes more than 59 per cent of the nation's population. The years were chosen to minimize the effects of the national economy on the data; both 1978 and 1985 are three years into the expansion phase of the national economic cycle. Within the sample, the mean increase in population during the seven-year period was 9.5 per cent and the median 5.8 per cent. Population change ranged from a 9 per cent decline in St Louis City to increases of more than 74 per cent in Gwinnett, Georgia and Fort Bend, Texas. A quarter of the sample experienced population increases of more than 15 per cent, but only 8 of the 248 large counties experienced increases greater than 40 per cent.
7.
This statement is based on the spending equations without controls. Only if the state-local division of spending responsibilities can be held constant in the face of local population growth are the no-controls equations the relevant ones.
8.
A recent survey of this literature by Frank ( 1989) concludes that, 'none of the studies are free of technical problems. None, furthermore, reach unassailable conclusions. The studies represent stimulating but faulty and ultimately unsatisfying attempts to define efficient patterns of development' (p. 1).
9.
See note 6 for a description of the sample.
10.
Ideally, she would like to examine the sum of current costs plus the annual cost of using capital, but the latter is not available in the Census of Governments. Following standard government accounting practices, the Census accounts for capital spending when it occurs rather than on an annual cost-of-capital basis.

REFERENCES

Altshuler, Alan A. and José A. Gómez-Ibáñez ( 1993), Regulation for Revenue:The Political Economy of Land Use Exactions, Washington D.C: Brookings Institution and Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

-72-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables viii
  • List of Contributors x
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Lincoln Institute of Land Policy xiv
  • 1. Introduction 1
  • Notes 21
  • References 21
  • Part I - Interactions Between Tax and Land Policies 23
  • 2. Theoretical Controversies: Land and Property Taxation 25
  • Notes 38
  • References 39
  • Notes 48
  • References 48
  • References 53
  • 3. Land Use Regulation as a Fiscal Tool 55
  • Notes 72
  • References 72
  • Notes 80
  • References 81
  • 4. Effects of Taxes on Economic Activity 82
  • Notes 99
  • References 99
  • Notes 107
  • Notes 115
  • 5. Tax Policies to Promote Economic Development 116
  • Notes 128
  • References 129
  • Part II - Tax Policy as a Land Use Tool 131
  • 6. the Pittsburgh Experience with Land- Value Taxation 133
  • Notes 141
  • References 142
  • 7. Property Tax Treatment of Farmland: Does Tax Relief Delay Land Development? 144
  • Notes 157
  • References 159
  • 8. Incentives, Firm Location Decisions and Regional Economic Performance 168
  • Notes 180
  • References 180
  • 9. Tax Increment Financing as a Tool of Redevelopment 182
  • Notes 196
  • References 197
  • Part III - Fiscal and Distributional Impacts 199
  • 10. Fiscal Impacts of Business Development in the Chicago Suburbs 201
  • Notes 212
  • References 214
  • Appendix 215
  • 11. Who Pays Development Fees? 218
  • Notes 231
  • References 233
  • 12. Regional Tax Base Sharing: the Twin Cities Experience 234
  • Notes 251
  • References 253
  • Index 255
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