Nonprofit Exemptions and Homeowner Property Tax Burden
Public Finance and Management 12(1): 21-50.
Calabrese, Thad, and Deborah A. Carroll
This paper examines the question of whether there is any correlation between the prevalence of nonprofit organizations with property, plant, and equipment exempt from property taxation and the property tax burden for homeowners. Data from the Tax Foundation and Internal Revenue Service was used to analyze general-purpose local governments within larger counties (populations greater than 65,000) in the United States for years 2005 and 2006. Several econometric specifications were used to estimate homeowner property tax burden as a function of the value of nonprofit fixed assets, government tax structure characteristics, and a series of control variables. Our estimates suggest that county geographies with greater presence of nonprofits tend to have higher homeowner tax burdens on average. Specifically, the value of nonprofit tax-exempt fixed assets within a county geography that is 10% above the mean of $15.4 million is generally associated with a median property tax paid by homeowners as a % of household income that is between 0.0009% and 0.0154% above the mean or between $2 and $24 higher on average. The median property tax paid as a % of homeowner’s home value would be between 0.0006% and 0.0069% above the mean or between $3 and $12 higher on average. Overall, we find a strong, positive correlation between nonprofit fixed assets and property tax burden for homeowners at the local level.
A Consequence of Exempting the Third Sector: Do Homeowners Pay More Property Taxes?
Public Finance and Management Vol 12(1): 21-50.
Calabrese, T., Carroll, D.
The 2013 Federal Budget's Impact on Communities of Color and Low-Income Families
Women of Color Policy Network
The Obama administration's budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) strengthens the national economy by investing in schools, communities and safety net programs. The FY 2013 budget also includes a number of important investments in infrastructure that will spur much needed job growth in a time of economic uncertainty for many working and low-income families. It is critical that such investments take into account the persistently high unemployment in communities of color, and target spending to increase the economic security of the communities most impacted by the "Great Recession." Additionally, the budget includes important changes to the tax code that will lay the foundation for a fairer and more equitable economy.
Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment
C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D
This report focuses on the effect of the recession and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on economically marginalized communities. The Network highlights four key areas of impact for women of color and their families: job creation and employment, housing and social services, education, and tax cuts to individuals.
Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
In Edward Glaeser and John Quigley, Eds. Housinmg Markets and the Economy: Risk, Regulation, Policy; Essays in Honor of Karl Case. Cambridge, Mass: Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, pp. 233-267.
Ingrid Ellen, Katherine O'Regan, Ioan Voicu
The timing of this volume could not be more opportune. It is based on a 2007 conference to honor the work of Karl "Chip" Case, who is renowned for his scientific contributions to the economics of housing and public policy. The chapters analyze risk in the housing market, the regulation of housing markets by government, and other issues in U.S. housing policy. Chapters investigate derivative markets; the role that home equity insurance can play in reducing risk; the role that the regulation of government-sponsored enterprises has played in extending credit to home purchasers in low-income neighborhoods; and the growth in the market for subprime mortgages. The impact of local zoning regulations on housing prices and new construction is also considered. This is a must read during a time of restructuring our nation’s system of housing finance.
The Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Foreclosures
Journal of Housing Economics, 17(4): 306-319
Ellen, I.G., Schuetz, J. & Been, V.
As the national mortgage crisis has worsened, an increasing number of communities are facing declining housing prices and high rates of foreclosure. Central to the call for government intervention in this crisis is the claim that foreclosures not only hurt those who are losing their homes to foreclosure, but also harm neighbors by reducing the value of nearby properties and in turn, reducing local governments’ tax bases. The extent to which foreclosures do in fact drive down neighboring property values has become a crucial question for policy-makers. In this paper, we use a unique dataset on property sales and foreclosure filings in New York City from 2000 to 2005 to identify the effects of foreclosure starts on housing prices in the surrounding neighborhood. Regression results suggest that above some threshold, proximity to properties in foreclosure is associated with lower sales prices. The magnitude of the price discount increases with the number of properties in foreclosure, but not in a linear relationship.
Reform Options for the Estate Tax System: Targeting Unearned Income
Testimony before the United States Committee on Finance March 12
Taxing Privilege More Effectively: Replacing the Estate Tax with an Inheritance Tax
in The Path to Prosperity: Hamilton Project Ideas on Income Security, Education, and Taxes (Jason Bordoff and Jason Furman, ed., Brookings Institution Press)
Measuring Equity and Adequacy in School Finance
Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy. Edited by Ladd, Helen F. and Ted Fiske. Laurence Erlbaum Associates, New York,
Downes, T. & Stiefel, L.
The Handbook traces the evolution of the field from its initial focus on school inputs (per pupil expenditures) and the revenue sources (property taxes, state aid programs, etc) used to finance these inputs to a focus on educational outcomes (student achievement) and the larger policies used to achieve them. It shows how the current decision-making context in school finance inevitably interacts with those of governance, accountability, equity, privatization, and other areas of education policy. Because a full understanding of the important contemporary issues requires inputs from a variety of perspectives, the Handbook draws on contributors from a variety of disciplines.
Making the Most of Our Parks
Citizens Budget Commission, June(Separate Summary document released September 2007).
Brecher, C. & Wise, O.
Parks play important roles in city life. They are a source of respite from the bustle of the urban environment, a place for active recreation and exercise for adults, and a safe place for children to play outdoors. In addition, parks preserve sensitive environmental areas, and, by making neighborhoods more attractive, enhance property values and the tax base of the city.
Budget 2000 Project (7 volumes)
Citizens Budget Commission, December .
Brecher, C. et al.
The Budget 2000 Project recommends actions that will reduce the cost of government in New York by between $12.8 and $19.7 billion, amounts large enough not only to balance the budgets of the Two New Yorks, shift the local government costs of public assistance and Medicaid to the State, and fund salary increases for workers who assist in the restructuring, but still leave at least $9.3 billion to improve New York's competitiveness by investing in the infrastructure, enhancing services and cutting taxes.
New York’s Endangered Future: Debt Beyond Our Means
Citizens Budget Commission, September
Brecher, C. & Lynam, E.
New York State has too much debt. Its obligations will require current and future taxpayers to bear a burden that creates a competitive disadvantage with the other states. Not only is the absolute amount of New York's debt high, but the burden is excessive even after the State's relatively large tax base and other relevant factors are taken into account.
The core issue is that New York has no effective legal limits on the amount of debt it can assume. Constitutional provisions intended to limit debt are outdated and are circumvented regularly. Statutory limits - passed in 2000 - are also being circumvented. Simply put, it has become too easy for State leaders to borrow. In addition, they have misused debt, which should be restricted to paying for long-term capital projects, by financing annual operating expenses.
Short-run and long-run measures are needed. In the near term, voters should reject bond referendums such as the Transportation Bond Act of 2005 until debt is brought under control. That act would authorize only $2.9 billion of an additional $13 billion in planned State borrowing, but it is the only opportunity that voters have to express their opposition to excessive borrowing. In the long-run the State must strike a balance between adequate infrastructure investment and a competitive debt burden. The State needs a new constitutional limit that does not require voter approval for every debt issuance, but does impose a binding limit that is linked to ability to pay.
Public Authorities in New York State.
Citizens Budget Commission, April
Brecher, C. & Brill, J.
Public authorities play a major role in delivering public services. They supplement direct government agencies in three ways:
• Provide a business-like organizational structure for public services that are financed primarily by user fees and whose capital investments are self-financed through bonds supported by user fees.
• Provide a stewardship for major capital assets and make long-run investment decisions with some isolation from pressures of the electoral cycle.
• Provide a mechanism for taking advantage of federal tax benefits for economic development and other purposes that otherwise would be treated as private activities.
Authorities are intended to strike a balance between political accountability and political independence. Unlike heads of direct government agencies, governing boards of authorities are expected to be more independent of those who appoint them, to make difficult and unpopular decisions outside the arena of elected politics, and to be accountable to the public indirectly through reporting, transparency in decision-making and long-run performance. New York State makes extensive use of public authorities.
Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right
National Tax Journal, Sep 2006, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p491-508, 18p.
This paper analyzes proposals to remedy tax-induced distortions in health care by using new tax incentives and retaining all of the existing distortionary tax incentives. In the process of remedying some distortions, this approach magnifies others--most notably increasing the total tax preference for health care. The paper considers two examples--the Bush administration's FY 2007 budget proposal and a plan by Cogan, Hubbard and Kessler (2005)--and shows that both could result in higher health spending and reduced welfare. Finally, the paper discusses the circumstances in which tax incentives could be warranted to remedy market failures in health insurance.
No Easy Answers
Brookings Review, Summer 2000, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p44, 4p.
Ellen, I.G. & Schwartz, A.E.
Discusses the strategies applied to foster economic growth among cities in the United States. Measurement of the impact of economic development programs; Effectiveness of infrastructure investments to boost economic growth; Impact of tax cuts on economy; Development of sports stadiums and arenas.
Evaluating the Success of Need-Based State Aid in the Presence of Property Tax Limitations
Public Finance Quarterly, Oct 92, Vol. 20 Issue 4, p483, 16p.
Reschovsky, A. & Schwartz, A.E.
Discusses the use of grants-in-aid to reduce fiscal disparities by local governments in the United States. Method used in Massachusetts to account for differences among communities in fiscal costs and resources; Indepth look at expenditure determination in tax limitations; Estimation of local government expenditures.
Taxing Over Tax Limits: Evidence from the Past and Policy Lessons for the Future
Public Administration Review, Jul/Aug 1981, Vol. 41 Issue 4, p445-453, 9p
Hickam, D., Berne, R. & Stiefel, L.
It is generally thought that across-the-board tax limits, white encouraging fiscal restraint, create hardships for jurisdictions with above average and uncontrollable needs. Because of the recent imposition of most limits, the conclusion is difficult to confirm empirically. This article provides a test of the conclusion based on a study of New York State city school districts where limits long in effect were suspended between 1970 and 1978 because of unusual local behavior and legislative action. Because some, but not all, districts took advantage of legislatively granted authority to tax beyond their limit, art empirical investigation can be used to explain this behavior. The results of the analysis, which show that low ability to pay, low inter-governmental grants, and high needs account for much of the behavior of districts that exceed limits, are helpful in designing flexible tax limits.
Taxing the Poor: Income Averaging Reconsidered
40 Harvard Journal on Legislation 395.
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.
Local Property Taxation in Theory and Practice: Some Reflections
in Wallace E. Oates, editor, Property Taxation and Local Government Finance, Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,
The property tax is considered a most unpopular tax, among both scholars and taxpayers. Yet, recent research and analysis has proposed at least a partial rehabilitation of this tax and its role in the arena of local public finance. Based on a conference sponsored by the Lincoln Institute in January 2000, this book presents a systematic and comprehensive review of the economics of local property taxation and examines its policy implications. The ten papers and paired commentaries are written in a nontechnical form to make the findings available to a broad audience of policy makers and other noneconomists.
On the Progressivity of the Child Care Tax Credit: Snapshot Versus Time-Exposure Incidence
National Tax Journal, March, pp 55-71.
Schwartz, A.E. & Altshuler, R.
We evaluate the progressivity of the federal Child Care Tax Credit using the Ernst and Young/ University of Michigan panel of tax return data. Incidence measures are calculated using both annual and "time-exposure" income to measure ability to pay. Both indicate that the benefits of the credit are progressively distributed. Replacing annual with time-exposure income dramatically increases the proportion of the credit received by lower-income taxpayers and yields a more even distribution of benefits across middle- and upper-income taxpayers. Our results suggest that policymakers should use both income measures to evaluate the credit.