Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Rethinking Local Government Reliance on the Property Tax

Contents:

Author Info

  • James Alm

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Robert D. Buschman

    ()
    (Fiscal Research Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University)

  • David L. Sjoquist

    ()
    (Economics Department, Georgia State University)

Abstract

Historically, local governments in the United States have relied on the property tax as one of their main sources of own-source revenues. However, the recent collapse of housing prices and the resulting negative impact on local government budgets suggest that it may be opportune to rethink this strategy. In this paper we document the overall decline in property values in the United States in recent years, and we find that the impact is in the aggregate negative but that the impact varies significantly by state and by locality. We also examine the impact on local government revenues, and we again find substantial regional and local variation. Indeed, our data indicate that substantial numbers of local governments seem to have avoided the significant and negative budgetary impacts seen most clearly for state and federal governments, at least to date. We then focus specifically on the State of Georgia, in order to determine the ways in which local governments have responded to the economic recession. Our empirical analyses indicates that there are several factors causing changes in property tax revenues, but the dominant factor is changes in housing prices, with some significant lags. We conclude that local government reliance on the property tax has in fact been an advantage for many local governments in the current economic environment, and that such reliance is likely to continue in at least some form for the immediate future.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1215.pdf
File Function: First Version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1215.

as in new window
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1215

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 206 Tilton Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: (504) 865-5321
Fax: (504) 865-5869
Web page: http://econ.tulane.edu
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: property tax; state and local finance; tax limitations; assessment; tax base elasticity;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2004. "How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence From Micro F. Data," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2045, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2005. "Booms and busts: consumption, house prices and expectations," IFS Working Papers W05/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Anderson, Nathan B., 2006. "Property Tax Limitations: An Interpretative Review," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(3), pages 685-94, September.
  4. Dye, Richard F. & McGuire, Therese J. & McMillen, Daniel P., 2005. "Are Property Tax Limitations More Binding over Time?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(2), pages 215-25, June Cita.
  5. Roger H. Gordon, 1982. "An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," NBER Working Papers 1004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Byron F. Lutz, 2008. "The connection between house price appreciation and property tax revenues," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. O'Sullivan,Arthur & Sexton,Terri A. & Sheffrin,Steven M., 1995. "Property Taxes and Tax Revolts," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521461597, December.
  8. Marvin L. Wolverton & Paul Gallimore, 1999. "Client Feedback and the Role of the Appraiser," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 18(3), pages 415-432.
  9. Bostic, Raphael & Gabriel, Stuart & Painter, Gary, 2009. "Housing wealth, financial wealth, and consumption: New evidence from micro data," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 79-89, January.
  10. Gentry, William M. & Ladd, Helen F., 1994. "State Tax Structure and Multiple Policy Objectives," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(4), pages 747-72, December .
  11. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 2005. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521021807, December.
  12. Dye, Richard F. & McGuire, Therese J., 1997. "The effect of property tax limitation measures on local government fiscal behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 469-487, December.
  13. Byron Lutz & Raven Molloy & Hui Shan, 2010. "The housing crisis and state and local government tax revenue: five channels," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Cornia, Gary C. & Walters, Lawrence C., 2006. "Full Disclosure: Controlling Property Tax Increases During Periods of Increasing Housing Values," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(3), pages 735-49, September.
  15. Mieszkowski, Peter & Zodrow, George R, 1989. "Taxation and the Tiebout Model: The Differential Effects of Head Taxes, Taxes on Land Rents, and Property Taxes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1098-1146, September.
  16. Doerner, William M. & Ihlanfeldt, Keith R., 2011. "House prices and city revenues," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 332-342, July.
  17. Skidmore, Mark & Scorsone, Eric, 2011. "Causes and consequences of fiscal stress in Michigan cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 360-371, July.
  18. William Hoyt & Paul A. Coomes & Amelia M. Biehl, 2009. "Tax Limits, Houses, and Schools: Seemingly Unrelated and Offsetting Effects," Working Papers 2009-03, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  19. Quan, Daniel C & Quigley, John M, 1991. "Price Formation and the Appraisal Function in Real Estate Markets," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 127-46, June.
  20. Lutz, Byron F., 2008. "The Connection Between House Price Appreciation and Property Tax Revenues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(3), pages 555-72, September.
  21. Dye, Richard F. & McMillen, Daniel P. & Merriman, David F., 2006. "Illinois' Response to Rising Residential Property Values: An Assessment Growth Cap in Cook County," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(3), pages 707-16, September.
  22. Orazio Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2005. "Consumption, house prices and expectations," Bank of England working papers 271, Bank of England.
  23. Julian Diaz III, 1990. "How Appraisers Do Their Work: A Test of the Appraisal Process and the Development of a Descriptive Model," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 5(1), pages 1-16.
  24. Zodrow, George R., 2001. "The Property Tax as a Capital Tax: A Room with Three Views," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 139-56, March Cit.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Anderson, Nathan B., 2012. "Market value assessment and idiosyncratic tax-price risk: Understanding the consequences of alternative definitions of the property tax base," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 545-560.
  2. Jian Chen & David H. Downs, 2013. "Property Tax and Tenure Choice: Implications for China," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 16(3), pages 323-343.
  3. Razvan Vlaicu & Alexander Whalley, 2011. "Do housing bubbles generate fiscal bubbles?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(1), pages 89-108, October.
  4. Chernick, Howard & Langley, Adam & Reschovsky, Andrew, 2011. "The impact of the Great Recession and the housing crisis on the financing of America's largest cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 372-381, July.
  5. James Alm & Robert D. Buschman & David L. Sjoquist, 2013. "How did foreclosures affect property values in Georgia School Districts?," Working Papers 1308, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  6. Doerner, William M. & Ihlanfeldt, Keith R., 2011. "House prices and city revenues," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 332-342, July.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1215. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Finlay).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.