Economic Development

Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property Tax Exemption

Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property Tax Exemption
State Tax Notes, June 23, pp. 1053-1069.

Netzer, D.
06/01/2003

Looks at the role of the property tax exemption for charities in local government finance. If services produced by nonprofits are largely exported from a jurisdiction, then requiring full property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes is a way of exporting local tax burdens.

Intradistrict Equity of Public Education Resources and Performance

Intradistrict Equity of Public Education Resources and Performance
Economics of Education Review, Volume 22, Number 1, pages 60-78.

Stiefel, L. & Iatarola, P.
02/01/2003

This paper presents empirical evidence on input and output equity of expenditures, teacher resources, and performance across 840 elementary and middle schools in New York City. Historically, researchers have studied interdistrict distributions, but given the large numbers of pupils and schools within many urban districts, it is important to learn about intradistrict distributions as well. The empirical work is built on a framework of horizontal, vertical, and equal opportunity equity. The results show that the horizontal equity distributions are more disparate than what would be expected relative to results of other studies, vertical equity is lacking, especially in elementary schools, and equality of opportunity is at best neutral but more often absent. Middle schools exhibit more equity than elementary schools. The paper is one of the first to measure output equity, using levels and changes in test scores to do so.

A Nonprofit Organization

A Nonprofit Organization
in Ruth Towse, editor, A Handbook of Cultural Economics. Cheltenham, U.K. and Nothhampton, MA: Edward Elgar,

Netzer, D.
01/01/2003

In all rich countries, firms organized on a not-for-profit basis produce cultural goods and services, along with for-profit firms (including independent professional artists) and the state. This is also true in many poorer countries. Non-profit firms are defined as organizations that have a formal structure and governance, which differ greatly among countries but share the characteristics that (1) the managers of the organization do not own the enterprise or have an economic interest that can be sold to other firms or individuals and (2) any surplus of revenue over expenditure may not be appropriated by the managers of the organization, but must be reinvested in ways that further the stated purposes of the organization. Obviously, such organizations will not be formed and continue to exist unless the organizers and managers expect and realize some economic rewards, including money compensation for their own services and non-financial rewards like consumption benefits (producing cultural goods and services that they want to enjoy but which will not be produced without their efforts) and personal status.

City and Party Politics

City and Party Politics
New York Observer, July 26,

Moss, M.L.
01/01/2003

We should not let the prospect of filling hotel rooms and restaurants overshadow the real benefit of hosting the Republican National Convention one year from now. The true value of the convention is that it will allow the city's leaders to forge a direct relationship with the leaders of the federal government. The benefits of building such a bond over the next year could help this city for years to come, not just during the four days in August and September when the Republican Party comes to town.

Effects of Welfare and Anti-Poverty Policies on Adult Economic and Middle-Childhood Outcomes Differ for the Hardest to Employ

Effects of Welfare and Anti-Poverty Policies on Adult Economic and Middle-Childhood Outcomes Differ for the Hardest to Employ
Child Development, Volume 74, pp. 1500-1521,

Yoshikawa, H., Magnuson, K.A., Bos, J.M. & Hsueh, J..
01/01/2003

Data from the Minnesota Family Investment Program and the New Hope demonstration were used to determine whether experimental effects of antipoverty policies differ by parents' risk for nonemployment. Using propensity score analysis, increases in employment and income were largest in the harder-to-employ halves of both samples. However, only children in the moderately hard-to-employ quartiles (50th to 75th percentile) consistently showed improvements in school and behavior outcomes. The very-hardest-to-employ 25% experienced decreases in school engagement, and increases in aggressive behaviors, despite substantial increases in parental employment and income. In this group, increases in maternal depression, reductions in regular family routines, and smaller increases in job stability and center-based child care occurred. These factors may have counteracted the potential benefits of increased income on children.

Financing the State: Campaign Finance and Its Discontents

Financing the State: Campaign Finance and Its Discontents
Critical Review 2003, Volume 15.

Kersh, R.
01/01/2003

Among the principal targets of criticism in recent American politics has been the alleged corruption, inequity, overall cost, and regulatory complexity of the U.S. campaign-finance system. Scholarship has not borne out any of these criticisms, and, if anything, empirical investigation suggests that the current system does a fair job in addressing�as much as this is possible under modern conditions�the problem of public ignorance in mass democracies.

Taxing the Poor: Income Averaging Reconsidered

Taxing the Poor: Income Averaging Reconsidered
40 Harvard Journal on Legislation 395.

Batchelder, L.
01/01/2003

This Article presents an original empirical analysis demonstrating the disproportionate burden taxation of annual income places upon low-income families. The author proposes two simple income averaging devices to redress this effect: averaging the Earned Income Tax Credit over a two-year period and carrying back the standard deduction and personal and dependent exemptions.

Equity Inequity

Equity Inequity
Annual Editions: American Government New York: McGraw Hill / Dushkin & 2003 and originally appearing in The Nation. 3/26/01; 272(12), pp. 20-22.

Conley, D.
01/01/2002

The article reports on racial inequality. The author says the while African-Americans do earn less than whites, asset gaps remain large even when black and white families at the same income levels are compared. For instance, at the lower end of the economic spectrum (incomes less than $ 15,000 per year), the median African-American family has a net worth of zero, while the equivalent white family's net worth is $10,000. Likewise, among the often-heralded new black middle class, the typical white family earning $40,000 per year enjoys a nest egg of around $80,000; its African-American counterpart has less than half that amount.

Learning from Experience: A Primer on Tax Increment Financing

Learning from Experience: A Primer on Tax Increment Financing
Fiscal Brief, New York City Independent Budget Office, September

Devine, T.
01/01/2002

To fund the estimated $1.5 billion extension of the No. 7 subway and perhaps other redevelopment proposals on Manhattan’s Far West Side, there has been increasing discussion of using a borrowing method known as tax increment financing, or TIF. The basic idea underlying TIF is that a city or town finances an improvement in a specific district with the property tax revenue generated by that improvement. While TIF has been used extensively throughout the country in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., it has never been used here. This report provides a primer on TIF––what it is, key features of the laws that authorize it, the types of projects undertaken, some of the reasons for its popularity, and a review of how it has worked in some other localities. Among the lessons from our review: • While TIF has proven to be an effective and flexible financing method in a variety of settings, some municipalities have encountered problems with their projects, including insufficient revenue to pay debt service. • TIF has been used to finance a variety of public works projects, but most have been small-scale. Larger projects usually have been joint ventures, mostly with private partners. No TIF project has been as costly as the proposed No. 7 extension. The report concludes with a discussion of issues that will have to be considered before relying on TIF for financing the proposed subway extension. These considerations will be more closely examined in a subsequent IBO report that will look at the viability of tax increment financing for extending the No. 7.

Spatial Lock-in: Do Falling House Prices Constrain Residential Mobility

Spatial Lock-in: Do Falling House Prices Constrain Residential Mobility
Journal of Urban Economics, May

Chan, S.
05/01/2001

Falling house prices have caused numerous homeowners to suffer capital losses. Those with little home equity may be prevented from moving because of imperfections in housing finance markets: the proceeds from the sale of their home may be insufficient to repay their mortgage and provide a down payment on a new home. A data set of mortgages is used to examine the magnitude of these constraints. Estimates show that average mobility would have been 24% higher after 3 years had house prices not declined, and after 4 years, it would have been 33% higher. Among those with high initial loan-to-value ratios, the differences are even greater.

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