“Changing the way we tax property to discourage speculation and encourage compact, infill development.”

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Another example of subversive thought lying somewhere outside the self-restricting box that local government prefers inhabiting. But wait: The Democrats are having a convention, and looking for innovative plat … form …

Never mind.

To Revitalize Downtowns, Tax Land Speculation: Five reasons to love land-value taxes, by Jerrell Whitehead and Clark Williams-Derry (Sightline Daily)

… So how is it that, even in the core of the Pacific Northwest’s largest metropolis, on some of the most valuable real estate within city limits, you can find so much land essentially still sitting idle?

One of the biggest reasons is also one of the most obscure: the structure of the property tax.

Under today’s tax rules, leaving a lot empty, or letting a building slowly rot, gives the property owner a light tax bill, thus allowing landowners to hold onto under-developed properties year after year after year. In essence, these land speculators become free-riders: their properties rise in value, sometimes dramatically, because of the hard-fought efforts by neighbors and city government to create vibrant and attractive downtowns. Yet many land speculators detract from the value of their neighborhood by leaving productive land derelict or by allowing buildings to disintegrate.

So what’s the solution to all this underutilized land? Perhaps the simplest one is an idea that’s been around since the late 1800s: changing the way we tax property to discourage speculation and encourage compact, infill development.

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