Legislation Introduced for 2-Rate Land Value Tax in Several
GroundSwell, March-April 2005]
GroundSwell editor's note: The following is my
compilation from various emails, newsletters, and legislative
downloads. Jeffery J. Smith is president of the Geonomy Society,
Portland, OR, and may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joshua
Vincent is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of
Economics, Philadelphia, PA.
OREGON. Jeffery J. Smith reports that Senator Ryan
Deckert of Beaverton (suburb of Portland) has introduced SJR 1, the
first Senate Joint Resolution of the 2005 session, which proposes an
amendment to the Oregon Constitution to allow a local taxing
district to adopt site value taxation. A jurisdiction would have to
submit the shift of the property tax to local voter approval.
Deckert's action follows earlier efforts by Rep. Jackie Dingfelder
and is at the request of last year's Interim Committee on Revenue.
SJR 1 would amend the constitution of Oregon, if approved by the
Legislature, signed by the governor, and then by the statewide
Oregon electorate, to create a new section to llK of Article XI. ..."
(1) The Legislative Assembly shall enact laws to authorize a local
taxing district to adopt a site value taxation system that taxes
land at one rate and all other property at a lesser rate. A site
value taxation system adopted under this section is in lieu of the
uniform ad valorem property taxes of the local taxing district,
except for taxes imposed to pay principal and interest on bonds
issued prior to the effective date of this section ... (2) taxes
collected under a site value taxation system adopted under this
section shall be assessed on the real market value of the property
subject to tax. ... (3) A local taxing district may phase in a site
value taxation system adopted under this section over a five-year
In a related development, Dr. Tom Gihring of Portland emailed
that he and Kris Nelson fulfilled a contract with METRO (regional
government in the Portland area) to study the tax shift efforts of a
LVT (Land Value Tax) on six commercial corridors in the metro area.
Results were reported to Metro, Revenue Committee of the Oregon
Senate, and other influential entities.
The following legislative efforts were reported by Joshua
Vincent, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of
ALABAMA. An effort led by the City of Tuskegee, AL, Mayor
and State Legislator Johnny Ford, has led to passing a statute for a
narrow constitutional amendment bill in the Alabama Legislature. HB
449 to permit Land Value Taxation in Tuskegee is to be voted on in
UTAH. Utah's Legislature in March 2005 passed SB 53,
whose chief sponsor was Howard A. Stephenson. SB 53 authorizes a
study of Land Value Taxation to be completed by November, 2005. The
Utah Tax Review Commission will undertake the study, and CSE has
offered its assistance. Previous efforts in Utah include those of
the late Cedar City, UT activist Earl Hanson (who died in 1995). He
got the Cedar City Council in 1993 to unanimously pass Resolution
93-0909-2. It was entitled "An Appeal to Governor Mike Leavitt
and the Utah Legislature to Initiate a Resolution for a
Constitutional Amendment to Reform Utah's Property Tax." Hanson
had been behind getting two bills introduced in the 1990s in the
Utah Legislature for a 2-rate property tax.
MINNESOTA. Senate/House joint bills SF 978 and HF 1035
would convert the statewide commercial/industrial property tax
funding education inequities into a statewide commercial land tax.
Support is from ISAIAH (a Gamaliel-associated group of congregations
in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area) and from a study performed by Mark
Haveman with the Minnesota Taxpayers.
Starting in 2006, the state general levy would first be divided
into a commercial-industrial share and a seasonal recreation share,
in proportion to the share of the state general tax levied on each
of those classes for taxes payable in 2005. ... For each subsequent
year there would be a shift until in 2016 and thereafter the full
amount of the commercial- industrial share would be levied upon
commercial-industrial land tax capacity. ... For each of the three
component shares of the state general levy ... the tax must be
distributed among the counties by applying a uniform rate to each
county's tax capacity for the relevant class ..." Sponsors of
SF 978 are Senators Mee Moua and Ann Rest. Sponsor of HB 1035 is
Rep. Ron Abrams.
CONNECTICUT. Raised Bill (HB)5892, An Act Concerning
Community Preservation, is the third LVT option bill in four years.
The bill would permit split rates for real property in cities larger
than 100,000 (Hartford, New Haven, Stanford, Bridgeport, Waterbury).
It is supported by the Interfaith Coalition for Equity and
Justice/ARISE. HB 5892 was initially referred to the Committee on
Planning and Development, where a hearing was held February 23, 2005
on it and also SB 977 (raised) which passed out of the Joint
Planning and Development Committee by a 13 to 5 vote. A Joint
Committee's recommendation for the full General assembly is that it
pass the bill.
Both HB 5892 and SB 977, An Act Authorizing Separate Rates of
Taxation for Real Estate, contain the following words: "For
assessment years commencing on and after October 1, 2006, any
municipality with a population of more than one hundred thousand, by
ordinance adopted by its legislative body, may (1) classify real
estate as (a) land or land exclusive of buildings, or (b) buildings
on land, and (2) establish a different rate of property tax for each
class, provided the higher rate shall apply to land or land
exclusive of buildings . As used in this subsection, the term "real
estate"does not include farm land, forest land and open space
land as such terms are defined in 12.107b."
As GroundSwell goes to press, SB 977 has a Senate number for a
vote. SB 977 will also have to pass the House and be signed by the
Governor. Josh Vincent reports endorsements for the House and Senate
LVT bills by the Connecticut Home Builders Association and by the
Mayor of the City of Hartford, CT. Land tax bills have been
introduced previously (in 1997) in Connecticut.
MARYLAND. Four two-tiered LVT bills are being considered
in this session.
Delegate Clarence Davis is the sponsor of HB 1036, which is
entitled Land Value Taxation - Local Option for Baltimore City. The
bill would establish separate classes for property tax assessment
purposes for land and improvements to land, require that the
property tax in Baltimore City for improvements to land be less than
or equal to the rate for land; require that the property tax in
Baltimore City applicable to specified property bear specified
relationships to the rate for improvements on land; authorize the
Mayor and the City Council of Baltimore City to set a tax rate of
zero for improvements to land, etc.
Delegate Davis and Delegate Mike Gordon are sponsors, along with
others of three bills: HB 842, HB 846, and HB 1075.
HB 842 is entitled Land Value Taxation - State Property Tax. It
would establish separate classes for property tax purposes for land
and improvements; establish a subclass of land for land that is used
as a principal place of residence; exempt improvements to land from
the state property tax, with specified exemptions; exempt from the
state property tax the first $15,000 of value of agricultural land
and the first $40,000 of land used as a principal place of
residence; apply the act to taxpayers beginning after June 30, 2006.
HB 846, is entitled Land Value Taxation - Funding for the Bridge
to Excellence in Public Schools Act. It would impose an annual state
tax on assessable property in rate and amount sufficient to provide
funding for implementation of the Bridge to Excellence in Public
Schools Act; establish separate property classes for land and
improvements to land; exempt improvements to land from the state
property tax, with specified exemptions; exempt from the state
property tax specified portions of the value of agricultural land
and land used as a principal place of residence. etc.
HB 1075 is entitled Land Value Taxation - Local Option for
Counties and Baltimore City. It would establish separate classes for
property tax purposes for land and improvements to the land; repeal
a requirement that there be a single county property tax rate for
all real property; require that a county tax rate for improvements
to land be less than or equal to the rate for land; require the
county tax rate applicable to specified property to bear specified
relationships to the rate for improvements to land; authorize a tax
rate of zero for improvements to land, etc.