Who Says Cities are Poor? They Just Don't Know How to Tax Their
H. William Batt
[Reprinted from a paper prepared under the auspices
of the Center for the Study of Economics, Philadelphia, PA. April
It's been an axiom of urban policy for the past half century to
lament the plight of American cities - that they have lost their most
productive populations, that their infrastructure is deteriorated and
obsolete, that they contain people most in need, and that their tax
base is limited. This essay argues that none of this needs to be so,
and that municipal leaders need only to think "outside the box"
as the hackneyed phrase goes, to find undreamed of revenue that will
not only provide all the support cities need but enhance the economic
vitality of their being by its collection.
As conventionally viewed, cities not only have need for more services
but lack the tax base on which to draw from. The services are greater
in cities than in suburban and rural communities because that's where
streets and other general services are the heaviest, where the schools
are the greatest challenge, where the police and fire departments are
most relied upon, where the social programs face the greatest
pathologies, and where general administration is the most complex and
requires the greatest control and coordination. It seems so obvious
that it hardly needs mentioning, and no further discussion is
At the same time, so the argument goes, the revenue bases upon which
to levy taxes are most lacking: the middle class and the wealthier
populations have largely moved out, and stores have relocated to malls
and highway junctions taking the sales tax base with them. What's left
are deteriorating buildings and a complaining citizenry: the footloose
commercial and industrial sector also threatens to relocate along with
a residential population feeling strangled by growing municipal and
school taxes on real property. A few cities have reached beyond
taxation of property and sales to impose one more -- an income tax --
on top of the others. And greater reliance upon user fees and on
privatized services shifts the burden increasingly to the poor.
It is difficult to argue with the truth of this picture. The most
recent National League of Cities Annual Report indicated that most
urban officials are very pessimistic about the general directions the
country is heading, and most expect continued decreases in the levels
services in years to come. Using almost any indicator - traffic,
unemployment, infrastructure, housing, drug and alcohol abuse, or
economic conditions, the problems have gotten worse. As federal and
state taxes are cut back in the face of growing resentment, local
leaders are faced with a Hobson's choice - raise more taxes or further
cut services. In recent years, the changes in revenue streams between
federal, state, and local governments show a continued decrease of
support in all areas.
The revenue choices, political leaders assume, are between taxes on
real property, retail sales, and personal income. All three are
recognized to have strong negative impacts. Property taxes, well
documented as being the most resented of all, are viewed as
unevenly and even arbitrarily applied, regressive, and destructive of
economic vitality. Sales taxes are acknowledged also as regressive and
easily evaded. And income taxes, intended as a means of taxing the "rich,"
also have downside consequences in their invitation to both tax
avoidance and enactment of loopholes by compliant legislatures. What
then to do? The more each tax rate is increased, the greater the
tendency to institute beggar-thy-neighbor policies that raise the cost
of their administration and foster more resentment and evasion. Not
without reason do tax experts regard politics today as essentially a
contest over taxes.
The premises of discourse
What is most called for today is a return to basic analysis.
Elementary economics starts with the recognition that there are three
factors of production in the creation of social wealth. Each of those
factors are mutually exclusive and, taken together, are jointly
exhaustive of all sources of market value. The first of these is what
classical economics from Adam Smith on called land. Land meant every
aspect of nature to which industry can be applied; it meant not just
locations of space but air, water, and mineral wealth. Today sunlight,
radio waves, and even time, on occasion, would be added. The second
factor of production is labor, referring quite simply to the effort
applied by people's minds or bodies to land. The third factor is the
product of past application of land and labor to current production:
capital. Each factor in classical economics has its price, the product
of which is the creation of wealth as we commonly understand it. The
price of labor is wages; the price of capital is interest, and the
price of land is rent. Rent, as understood in economics, is not
payment for the use of property owned by others; it has, rather, a
more technical meaning, one which will require greater explication
We have largely lost sight of these basic premises of economic
thought, and it has led to our general inability to address the urban
challenge of taxation with a perspective that offers an easy solution.
Returning to these fundamental building blocks makes things much
simpler and more comprehensible. Labor continues to be easily
understood; its meaning has not changed in the course of a shift from
classical to neoclassical economic thought. But capital, which had
earlier encompassed only those creations that were the result of human
enterprise - the product of labor and land, has now been redefined to
include land. Land by itself in contemporary neoclassical economics
has dropped out of the equation altogether, and so for the most part
has the concept of economic rent. Mathematical formulas in
neoclassical economics are entirely changed.
There is good reason, however, to recover the use of the terms land
and rent as they were employed in 19th century classical economics:
rent is the surplus produced by the collective enterprise that can
provide the necessary revenue to easily support public services, if it
were only collected in the form of taxes. In fact, by shifting
taxes off labor and capital and onto land rent, the performance of
markets would be made fully efficient and would be essentially
painless to taxpayers. This is the thesis I am arguing here, and which
is now possible to demonstrate with the advent of computer power and
available data. It amplifies and validates what has been for a century
only a plausible theoretical claim. We can now show that collecting
economic rent can provide for all the services demanded of cities and
avail themselves of the proper tax base that exceeds all others.
And unlike other taxes there is no downside impact; in fact it's
positive. Economic rent is the surplus created by the community, and
it circulates through the markets until it ultimately comes to settle
on land sites. The result of its accretion to land sites is to
raise their market price. Economic rent is sometimes called land rent
or ground rent for this reason, and comes about not through any
titleholder's individual enterprise but by the consequence rather of
society's collective effort. British political economist David Ricardo
first conceived of land rent in terms of its relationship to
agricultural production in the early 1800s, but its applicability
today is understood far more easily with regard to the site values in
cities. Whereas ground rent to Ricardo reflected the differential
gifts of nature inherent in various land sites, it is today better
understood as reflective of locational differentials in the capacities
This is relatively easy to understand by considering a vacant expanse
of land that has imposed upon it a grid of roads like a tic-tac-toe
board. Suppose each of the squares were privately owned, and
development of those sites were to ensue, the economic surplus
generated by that market activity would raise the value of each of
those locations. Let's further suppose that every site were developed
except the center square, that titleholder choosing instead to just
hold his title vacant. Which land site, discounting the building
values, would command the greatest market price after a short time?
The center square, of course - even though that owner made no effort
to earn that increase in price. The center square would see the
greatest accretion of economic rent because of its strategic access.
It would be the passive beneficiary of the surplus generated by the
common enterprise of all the market exchanges resulting from the other
locations. In just this way rent becomes the social creation of the
community and not the result of any private individual's enterprise.
The more the economic activity, the more the surplus generated comes
to settle on land in the form of rent. Rent accretes to land sites and
raises their market value, directly reflecting the varying levels of
productive economic surplus generated over time throughout a
community. High economic productivity yields high surplus rent.
If one plots the land value per unit area, whether by square foot,
acre, hectare, or square mile, as is now possible to easily do using
modern computer programs, the differential land values are easy to
approximate. Typically the center of a city experiences the peak land
value, with a precipitous decline as one leaves the center and departs
to its outer edge. The highest value locations are the commercial
cores, falling quickly as one travels out to residential locations,
and with agricultural and forest lands having only a small fraction of
the value commanded at the center. In areas of New York City, the
market price of locations has been shown to be in the vicinity of $500
million per acre. Even in smaller cities, there is little realization
of the enormous cost of sites in core areas: in downtown Des Moines,
the price per acre was $31.5 million. Other illustrations are easily
available, particularly in urban areas on the east and west coasts of
the US. Taking another perspective, the urbanized center of Tompkins
County, New York (Ithaca) is five percent of the land area but
contains ninety-five percent of the land value. To see where the
land values are highest, it is easiest to look at a city's skyline.
The tallest buildings sit on the most expensive land parcels.
Typically the aggregate land value of a city is about 40 percent of
the combined market value of land and improvements. The proportion of
overall land value to building value is revealed by that profile,
known as a landvaluescape. Some buildings will exceed that
proportion -- a large investment on a small footprint; other sites may
be vacant or depreciated buildings with a far smaller land to building
ratio. The dynamic at work here is easily understood: the greater a
land site's value the greater the incentive to take advantage of its
location; following the same logic, the more intensive the investments
in particular neighborhoods the greater market value of remaining or
underused land sites, making any locations that are underutilized good
candidates for improvement. So it is that downtowns generate land
values many times those of farther reaches; each investment
development fosters others.
The Rent in Cities
The land values are highest in urban cores, one is reminded, because
the economic rent passes as a surplus through all market transactions
and comes to settle on land sites. Rent happens, so to speak, and it
raises the market price of sites accordingly. Were cities to recover
the socially produced ground rent in the form of tax revenue, it would
not be left to collect on sites but could be used to provide the
financial wherewithal for the services that cities are bound to
perform. As will be evident below, the amount of economic rent
available for recovery is thought sufficient to pay for all services
and then some. Today it simply collects on sites of greatest activity
with typical and visible negative consequences.
One might suppose that collecting the economic rent would leave
locational sites with less market price appreciation, stabilizing land
prices at levels that are more within reach for various developments.
To be sure collecting economic rent exerts a downward pressure on
market prices. But there is a countervailing pressure that works to
neutralize whatever tendencies are otherwise at work: the collection
of rent, especially from high-value sites, increases the carrying
costs in ways that provides a greater inducement for their
titleholders to improve them. That incentive fosters development in
areas that, together in combination with other activity generated in
neighborhoods, tends to maintain the stability of land markets in a
roughly constant pattern.
Unfortunately the positive effect of taxing rent in the typical
American city is neutralized by the fact that taxes are also imposed
upon improvements. Even though taxing land sites fosters their more
intensive use, taxing buildings exerts a penalty on titleholders for
doing so that works in the opposite direction. The conventional tax on
real property in most American cities is like a train with an engine
at each end. Whatever beneficial effects that might be apparent by
taxing just land value are taken away again by the tax on
improvements. This is why so many cities suffer from abandonment and
despoliation. It is also why titleholders so often revile the
conventional property tax. Were the tax on improvements gradually
phased out and the tax on land values raised proportionately in a
revenue-neutral manner, underused parcel owners would be induced to
make improvements and sites would be built upon commensurate with
their market price. This practice is increasingly employed by
municipalities both in the US and beyond.
Taxing land value only is an incentive with the virtue of reversing
the centrifugal forces of sprawl development and the tendency for
builders to choose suboptimal locations. Some titleholders find it
advantageous to hold their valuable parcels off the market for
speculative gain. But bringing the holding costs forward rather than
allowing their exploitation for a capital gain upon sale increases the
market efficiency of transactions and more optimal use of sites. The
incentive to speculate on others' dime is removed.
Cities, having the huge preponderance of land value, stand most to
gain by a shift of taxes to land value alone. If they wished they
could "cream" the tax base in a way that would make
outermost locations positively jealous. Contrary to the thesis of
writers like David Rusk who argue for incorporating the suburbs to the
cities to expand the tax base, it is the urban cores that have the
greatest tax base in the form of high ground rent. Preliminary studies
indicate that the amount of economic rent available to be recovered in
taxes is equivalent to the optimal demand for services that cities
require. Nobel prize winning economists William Vickrey and Joseph
Stiglitz have been among those who explored what is known as the Henry
George Theorem. Given the quality of current data it remains a
challenge to be more specific in applications of this thesis. It
remains a subject area begging for further exploration.
The Failure to Tax Rent
The performance of economies freighted by experience with
conventional taxes is much reduced, as has been widely acknowledged.
One Harvard study estimated that taxes on income exert a deadweight
loss equal to a third of the amount that is collected, half if payroll
taxes are included. Sales taxes are equally as onerous. But taxing
land, due to its fixed (inelastic) supply, has zero burden; it
therefore has no encumbrance or drag on economic activity whatsoever.
By reducing all the taxes on labor and capital and instead shifting
the burden to various forms of land as a revenue base, it is possible
not only to garner sufficient income for government programs but to
relieve the market from the friction that slows its performance.
Cities then get a double dividend by shifting to a land tax:
downtaxing any form of labor and capital frees up its potential;
uptaxing land value by the recovery of rent prompts its more intensive
use. Revenue yield could even be increased in such a tax regime
without much additional burden on homes. This is because underused
landsites in the urban cores would feel the greatest increases.
It should be further noted that wherever tax burdens are first
incurred they are ultimately shifted through the economy until they
come out of economic rent. By their initial imposition on other
factors of production, however, they encumber the performance of
markets and foster inequities among populations that is both
inefficient and unjust. This is not difficult to explain: labor is
responsive to the forces of market location, even if not always in the
short run. People are always free to locate where burdens are less
onerous, thus avoiding efforts to collect taxes when their labor is so
targeted. Capital is even more mobile, especially so in the age of
contemporary communication and wired transfers. By taxing capital a
municipality is insuring that its investment base will be reduced.
Only locations, and the rent that attaches to them, cannot be moved
and are beyond escaping the reach of taxation. One can't take one's
land to Cancun or Bermuda.
One could argue that the failure to tax every bit of economic rent
that accretes to land sites also has destructive consequences,
although this is somewhat open to debate. Classical economists agree
that rent collection ought to be at least the sum of inflation plus
interest, otherwise the public is facilitating speculation in ways
that distorts urban configurations even more than they constitute an
inequity. But land sites frequently rise in market price far more than
the rate of inflation, especially in times (as is perhaps true today)
that a "bubble" in an economic cycle is in full flower. Some
municipalities, especially on the east and west coasts of US, are
today claiming to have increases in housing prices of as high as 20
percent per annum, a fever that surely will not last and will be
especially destructive when it collapses. Land values are what
create that bubble; buildings are subject to continuing depreciation
just like cars, computers, refrigerators or any other manufactured
(capital) item. Recovering the economic rent reduces and perhaps even
eliminates the speculative bubbles and swings that (some argue)
account for economic cycles, fostering stability and regularity in
economic planning and development that make for improved financial
health to all.
This reality brings into stark relief the choices which local
political leaders have. They may suggest increasing taxes on economic
rent (i.e., on land value) or recognize that most property owners are
counting on treating their homes and other property not as places to
live and work so much as investments and then lament the poverty of
their cities. Owners expect to reap a gain from their property when
they sell, and they are often positioned to make any threat to that
entitlement political unpalatable. Farmers sometimes regard selling
their farms as their retirement security. Homeowners sell with the
expectation that this gain will provide them the means to enter long
term end-of-life facilities if necessary. Heirs also oppose that
recapture just as with a reverse mortgage. But for every long-term
property owner that walks away with a lifetime's benefit of increased
rent attached to a land title, there are just as many - if not more -
young households or emerging businesses that are prohibited from
acquiring a property because of the prohibitively expensive costs. In
this sense, a title to a socially created stream of rental benefits
constitutes a monopoly privilege to an unearned windfall gain for a
lucky few. It is both unjust and is socially and economically
destructive to the greater good.
The Perfect Tax
In the final analysis, a tax should be evaluated according to the
tenets of sound tax theory that have evolved over the course of recent
centuries, and much of what has been said above is recaptured by a
review of those principles. These measures of what is a "good"
tax or a "bad" tax are often listed differently in
textbooks, but they are largely agreed upon. Failure to conform to
these venerable benchmarks is by itself sufficient cause to explain an
economy's faltering - a particularly noteworthy example today is the
city of Philadelphia which appears to have done everything backward!
It taxes income, sales, building capital and even business privilege,
the result being that its fisc is destitute. The principles by
which to measure tax design are enumerated here so as to make quite
clear how recapturing economic rent in the form of taxes - in all the
several forms where 'land' can be identified - constitutes the best
method of financing government services and the most advantageous to
The first measure of a good tax is its neutrality. A neutral tax in
no way alters the behavior of its partners from what would transpire
were there no tax at all. A simple example illustrates the case: today
many consumers will travel to alternate jurisdictions to avoid paying
a sales tax on particular items, be they food, medication, clothing,
or whatever. Taxes fully absorbed ("capitalized") in a
market price such as land taxes in no way distort behavior, the volume
of transactions, or gross prices. They are neutral.
A tax should also be efficient. To be sure, efficiency has many
meanings even in economics. But here, rather than speaking of the
administrative efficiency of its collection as will be addressed
below, the measure is whether and how much it constitutes an excess
burden on the economy, thereby slowing down performance and market
vitality. Many taxes, as was mentioned earlier, exert so much drag on
market transactions that they are destructive, however much revenue is
brought to government coffers. Because land has a fixed supply there
is no excess burden at all.
People are frequently most concerned about the fairness of a tax,
which is typically measured according to both horizontal and vertical
equity. Horizontal equity means that those in similar circumstances
will bear similar burdens. Vertical equity prescribes that those with
greater resources will pay more. Although studies have yet to show
this, land taxes are likely the most "progressive" of any
levy, as tenants bear no passed-through burden at all. Not only
does no household or office tenant bear any tax burden, locational
sites distant from the urban core, mostly homeowners and farmers,
typically find their burden reduced. Vacant or underused lots in high
value areas pick up the difference, employing a design that employs an
alternate criterion of equity: taxing according to use. "Paying
for what you take and not for what you make" encourages efficient
consumption of space and resources in an automatic and non-coercive
manner. The one-third of households that own no land are relieved of
all taxes, and residential and non-residential property owners split
the rest. Farmers, whose land is typically of inconsequential value
relative to sites in urban areas, are likely to pay little if anything
even if they are not already protected by other save-harmless
provisions. By eliminating taxes on building improvements they
typically enjoy savings just as do other businesses.
All this makes for a far simpler and more comprehensible system of
taxation. Land taxes are totally transparent, impossible to evade, and
therefore much more administrable. This further engenders the
legitimacy of taxation and of government itself. What it also does is
assure stability to the tax system, for the reason that land values
are not subject to the variations and vacillations that other tax
bases frequently have. Indeed, the removal of economic rent from
locational sites discourages speculative bubbles and the related
economic cycles that are associated with them. This greater stability
and reliability is to the advantage of every sector of the economy -
private, public, and non-profit.
A tax that collects economic rent offers a win-win proposition to
every sector of the community - except to those who speculate in land.
But who wants to favor land speculators? They are not held in high
regard anywhere; their destructive behavior is the bane of cities,
recognized everywhere for what it is: parasitic and passive.
Speculators provide no added value to a community's well-being, and
taxing rent is a foolproof means by which to eliminate it. Land
speculation is highest where the most rent can be privately captured,
but it forces those who choose to develop to look to sub-optimal
locations when the primary locations they hoped for are held off the
market for opportunistic gain. By collecting rent, primary choice
locations become available for use and to facilitate the development
of land use configurations ideal for the economic health and efficient
allocation. Urban ambience is improved, public sector service costs
are reduced, and sprawl development is stemmed.
In the final analysis cities have no reason to complain other than by
being hoodwinked by an economics profession that went off track a
century ago and has seen its own disciples unable to take off the
veil. It was then that economic theory was altered to treat land
as simply another form of capital, changed to formulas based on two
factors of production rather than three, and disposing of the notion
of economic rent altogether. Henry George, the last passionate
defender of the classical economic tradition a century ago, lost his
fight to preserve three-factor economics. But there are many still who
appreciate the value, even the truth, of his insight and analysis.
Today we have the computer power to test these ideas and to
demonstrate their validity. There is an oft retold story among
adherents of the Georgist school referred to as "seeing the cat."
As told by Professor Fred Foldvary,
A man was walking down a shopping street and came to a
store window where there was a big drawing full of lines and
squiggles. A sign by the drawing asked, "Can you see the
picture?" All the man could see was a chaos of lines going
every which way. He stared at it and tried to make out some kind of
design, but it was all a jumble. Then he saw that some of the lines
formed ears, and whiskers, and a tail. Suddenly he realized that
there was a cat in the picture. Once he saw the cat, it was
unmistakable. When he looked away and then looked back at the
drawing, the cat was quite evident now.
So it is with those who see and appreciate economics in three-factor
terms and the importance of economic rent. Once it is understood,
their world is never again the same. By this uniquely Georgist story,
the power of the classical economic framework is made clear. When it
is more widely understood, city fathers will come to see that the
revenue they dreamed about was there all along. They need only to see
the cat and collect that economic rent.
NOTES AND REFRERENCES
1. National League of Cities, The
State of America's Cities 2004: The Annual Opinion Survey of Muncipal
2. Karlyn H. Bowman, "Public Opinion on Taxes," American
Enterprise Institute Studies in Public Opinion, April 7, 2004,
www.aei.org/publication16838; and Glenn W. Fisher, The Worst Tax?
A History of the Property Tax in America. University of Kansas
3. See, for example, Joel Slemrod, Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen's
Guide to the Debate over Taxes, Third Edition. Cambridge: MIT
Press, 2004); Michael Graetz, The Decline (and Fall?) of the
Income Tax. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.
4. For an extended discussion of this, see Mason Gaffney and Fred
Harrison, The Corruption of Economics London: Shepheard-Walwyn
5. For more on this, see Kenneth C. Wenzer (ed.), Land Value
Taxation: The Equitable and Efficient Source of Public Finance.
New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2001.
6. See, for example, Terry Dwyer, "The Taxable Capacity of
Australian Land Resources," in Australian Tax Forum,
January, 2003. www.prosper.org.au/Documents/TaxableCapacity.pdf; and
infra. More work is forthcoming on this question, and much
greater documentation will be available shortly.
7. See Mason Gaffney, "The Philosophy of Public Finance",@
especially, pp. 188-192, in Fred Harrison (ed.), The Losses of
Nations: Deadweight Politics versus Public Rent Dividends. London:
Othila Press, 1988.
8. For a graphical presentation of this, see H. William Batt, The
Nexus of Transportation, Economic Rent, and Land Us, April, 2002,
9. The website World City Photo Archive,
http://www.worldcityphotos.org/, has just about every city. 10. Tony
Vickers and Mark Thurstain-Goodwin, "Visualizing Landvaluescape
Without a Cadastre," at
11. T. Nicolaus Tideman, Taxing Land is Better than Neutral: Land
Taxes, Land Speculation, and the Timing of Development,@ in Kenneth C.
Wenzer (ed.), Land Value Taxation: The Equitable and Efficient
Source of Public Finance. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1999.
12. This phenomenon has been apparent in many instances where land
value taxation has been instituted. See the work of the Center for the
Study of Economics (Philadelphia) at www.urbantools.net.
13. Robert V. Andelson, Land-Value Taxation Around the World.
American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol 59. No. 5
(Supplement, 2000), and Blackwell Publishers, 2000.
14. H. William Batt, "Stemming Sprawl: The Fiscal Approach,"
in Matthew J. Lindstrom and Hugh Bartling (ed.), Suburban Sprawl:
Culture, Theory, and Politics. Lanham, MD: Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, 2003, pp 239-254; and
15. David Rusk, Cities Without Suburbs. Washington: Woodrow
Wilson Center Press, 1995, 2003.
16. Richard Arnott, "Does the Henry George Theorem Provide a
Practical Guide to Optimal City Size?" American Journal of
Economics and Sociology, Vol. 63. No. 5 (November, 2004), pp.
17. Martin Feldstein, "Tax Avoidance and the Deadweight Loss of
Income Taxes," Review of Economics and Statistics
(November, 1999). Abridged online at
18. Supra, note 6.
19. Cover article of Business Week, "After the Housing
Boom," April 11, 2005, pp 78 ff.
20. See the Tax Structure Analysis Report of the Controller
of the City of Philadelphia Jonathan Saidel at
http://www.philadelphiacontroller.org/tax.htm and Philadelphia
Forward, a tax reform organization focused on that city, at
21. For a discussion of what students of tax policy regard as the
principles which should guide their design, see, for example, George
Break, "Taxation," Encarta Encyclopedia by Microsoft,
1993; "Principles of Taxation, in Light of Modern Developments,"
Washington: Federal Tax Policy Memo, The Tax Foundation; "Principles
of a High Quality Revenue System," Tax Notes, March 21,
1988; David G. Davies, United States Taxes and Tax Policy,
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 17-19; and David
Brunori, State Tax Policy: A Political Perspective.
Washington: Urban Institute Press, 2001, Ch. 2. State studies cited
above also typically list any or all of these criteria. I have seen
accountability, balance, certainty, competitiveness, and complementary
included as well.
22. Only two empirical studies have ever been done on the subject,
but both concluded that the real property tax is mildly progressive.
When land and improvements, the two elements of the property tax, are
taken separately, it becomes even clearer why this is so. See Peter
Mieszkowski, AThe Property Tax: An Excise or a Profits Tax,@ Journal
of Public Economics 1 (April 1972): 73-96, cited and discussed
extensively by James Heilbrun, "Who Bears the Burden of the
Property Tax?" in Lowell Harriss (ed.), The Property Tax and
Local Finance, Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science,
Vol 35, #1 (1983), pp. 56-71; and Henry J. Aaron, Who Pays the
Property Tax: A New View, Washington: the Brookings Institution,
1975. These are reprinted and further discussed in Dick Netzer and
Matthew P. Drennan (eds.), Readings in State and Local Public
Finance. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1997, Chapters 7 -- 10. See
also Harvey S. Rosen, Public Finance, 2nd Edition (Homewood,
IL: Irwin Press, 1988), pp. 483-489; Mason Gaffney, "The Property
Tax is a Progressive Tax," Proceedings, National Tax
Association, 64th Annual Conference, Kansas City, 1971, pp. 408-426.
[Republished in The Congressional Record, March 16, 1972: E 2675-79.
(Cong. Les Aspin.) Resources for the Future, Inc., The Property
Tax is a Progressive Tax, Reprint No. 104, October, 1972], online
at www.schalkenbach.org/library/progressivet.pdf .
23. Supra, Note 3.
24. Fred Foldvary, "Seeing the Cat,"