Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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note: for more recent information on current millage rates, see How to Replace the Earnings Tax in Saint Louis, by Joseph H. Haslag, at http://showmeinstitute.org/smi_study_5.pdf

Al Hartheimer: Affordable Housing and the Land Value Tax Perspective: a letter to Asheville, North Carolina

The Case of Harrisburg

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania started using the two-rate tax in 1975 with a very modest shift of tax off buildings, onto land. At that time it was known as a municipal "basket case," with over 4000 vacant structures. Since then it has shifted more tax off buildings on to land in several steps. Today the tax rate on land is 4.89%, the tax rate on buildings is 0.9618%. Today there are less than 500 vacant structures and Harrisburg is considered an up and coming city.

Mayor Reed in a 1994 letter to Patrick J. Toomey said the following. "The City of Harrisburg continues in the view that such a land value taxation system, which places a much higher tax on land than on improvements, is an important incentive for the highest and best use of land in already developed communities, such as cities. […] Moreover, the same two-rate system tends to discourage real estate speculators and others who would be inclined under normal conditions to tie up land tracts that could otherwise be used for development purposes. […]

With over 90% of the property owners in the City of Harrisburg, the two-tiered tax system actually saves money over what would be otherwise a single rate system that is currently in use in nearly all municipalities in Pennsylvania. […] I should note that the City of Harrisburg was considered the second most distressed in the United States twelve years ago […] Since then, over $1.2 billion in new investment has occurred here, reversing nearly three decades of very serious decline." A coincidence? Perhaps not.



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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper