TheDay.com - Agenda 2009: The Day's key issues for the year. A small step in the right direction, however, would be giving cities the ability to utilize Land Value Taxation. Such a system taxes the land, not the buildings on it. In urban areas such an approach can encourage property owners to stop land-banking empty lots and vacant buildings. By removing the tax penalty for developing such properties, it motivates owners to find new uses or sell their properties to someone who will.
Stamford could benefit from this, too. Our 30+ year old "hole in the ground" would blossom, creating jobs during the construction process, but more important, providing something the market wants: housing, or commercial space. And Stamford's other lovely chain-link-fence-and-queen-anne's-lace "parks" would be put to use. And perhaps some of our 1940s low-rise buildings, serving a single street-level tenant, would give way to midrise buildings meeting many market wants.
And we would reduce the sprawl that is creeping up High Ridge Road, concentrating our growth close to existing infrastructure.
I hope Stamford's representatives in Hartford will join New London's in pursuing the enabling legislation.
Most homeowners would see their taxes go down if we reduced the millage rate on buildings and increased the millage rate on land value. Owners of vacant lots would be paying something closer to their fair share of the costs of providing Stamford's services, and those who have already developed their lots to something like their highest and best use would see their semi-annual "penalty" for their temerity reduced. I don't see any negative incentives in this.
Harrisburg has used this since 1982, and their mayor has been re-elected since 1982. He attributes some of that to Land Value Taxation.
Mayors in Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford have shown an interest in LVT, too.
Read more at http://www.urbantools.org/