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The housing crisis and state and local government tax revenue: Five channels

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  • Lutz, Byron
  • Molloy, Raven
  • Shan, Hui

Abstract

State and local government tax revenues dropped steeply following the most severe housing market contraction since the Great Depression. We identify five main channels through which the housing market affects state and local tax revenues: property tax revenues, transfer tax revenues, sales tax revenues (including a direct effect through construction materials and an indirect effect through the link between housing wealth and consumption), and personal income tax revenues. We find that property tax revenues do not tend to decrease following house price declines. We conclude that the resilience of property tax receipts is due to significant lags between market values and assessed values of housing and the tendency of policy makers to offset declines in the tax base with higher tax rates. The other four channels have had a relatively modest effect on state tax revenues. We calculate that these channels jointly reduced tax revenues by $22Â billion from 2006 to 2009, which is about 3% of total state own-source revenues in 2006. We conclude that the recent contraction in state and local tax revenues has been driven primarily by the general economic recession, rather than the housing market per-se.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutz, Byron & Molloy, Raven & Shan, Hui, 2011. "The housing crisis and state and local government tax revenue: Five channels," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 306-319, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:41:y:2011:i:4:p:306-319
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    Cited by:

    1. Albert Solé-Ollé & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2011. "Local spending and the housing boom," Working Papers 2011/27, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Solé-Ollé, Albert & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2017. "Housing booms and busts and local fiscal policy," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-001, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Jiri Jonas, 2012. "Great Recession and Fiscal Squeeze at U.S. Subnational Government Level," IMF Working Papers 12/184, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Huang, MeiChi, 2014. "Bubble-like housing boom–bust cycles: Evidence from the predictive power of households’ expectations," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 2-16.
    5. Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti, 2017. "The influence of decentralized taxes and intergovernmental grants on local spending volatility," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 507-522.
    6. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Willardsen, Kevin, 2014. "The millage rate offset and property tax revenue stability," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 167-176.
    7. Büttner, Thiess, 2017. "Welfare Cost of the Real Estate Transfer Tax," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168308, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. James Alm, 2017. "Is Economics Useful for Public Policy?," Working Papers 1702, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    9. 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.
    10. Chan, Sewin & Haughwout, Andrew & Tracy, Joseph, 2015. "How Mortgage Finance Affects the Urban Landscape," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Bhatt, Rachana & Rork, Jonathan C. & Walker, Mary Beth, 2011. "Earmarking and the business cycle: The case of state spending on higher education," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 352-359, July.
    14. 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.
    15. Thiess Büttner, 2017. "Die volkswirtschaftlichen Zusatzkosten der Grunderwerbsteuer," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 24(01), pages 25-28, February.
    16. Kuang-Liang Chang & Nan-Kuang Chen & Charles Ka Yui Leung, 2016. "Losing Track of the Asset Markets: the Case of Housing and Stock," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 19(4), pages 435-492.
    17. Alm, James & Buschman, Robert D. & Sjoquist, David L., 2014. "Foreclosures and local government revenues from the property tax: The case of Georgia school districts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-11.
    18. Szarowska, Irena, 2013. "Can tax policy co-cause the crisis?," MPRA Paper 59780, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Ross, Justin M. & Yan, Wenli, 2013. "Fiscal Illusion From Property Reassessment? An Empirical Test of the Residual View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 7-32, March.
    20. Alm, James & Buschman, Robert D. & Sjoquist, David L., 2011. "Rethinking local government reliance on the property tax," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 320-331, July.
    21. John Norregaard, 2013. "Taxing Immovable Property Revenue Potential and Implementation Challenges," IMF Working Papers 13/129, International Monetary Fund.
    22. Thiess Büttner, 2017. "Welfare Cost of the Real Estate Transfer Tax," CESifo Working Paper Series 6321, CESifo Group Munich.
    23. Tom Downes & Kieran M. Killeen, 2014. "So Slow to Change: The Limited Growth of Nontax Revenues in Public Education Finance, 1991–2010," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 9(4), pages 567-599, October.
    24. Presbitero, Andrea F. & Sacchi, Agnese & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2014. "Property tax and fiscal discipline in OECD countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 428-433.
    25. Alm, James, 2018. "Is Economics Useful for Public Policy?," Working Paper Series 6824, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.

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