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State Hazardous and Solid Waste Taxes: Understanding Their Variability

  • Kelly B. Maguire
  • Robin R. Jenkins

There is substantial evidence that hazardous and solid waste facilities are located disproportionately in communities of color. While there are many potential explanations, one contributing factor might be that policy makers treat waste facilities differently, depending on the racial makeup of the facilities’ host communities. On a larger scale, policies targeted at waste facilities might also vary according to the racial make-up of entire constituencies (not just of host communities). This paper examines hazardous and solid waste taxes set by state governments and how those taxes vary according to the racial consistency of the entire state as well as within communities located inside a 3 kilometer radius of waste facilities. We also pose a set of alternative explanations for the variability in state waste taxes, including the extent of negative externalities, inter-jurisdictional competition, revenue-seeking behavior and the interplay between state and local governments. We find no evidence that policy makers consider the racial makeup of the community immediately surrounding the waste facilities when setting taxes. We do, however, find that the percent of the population in the state that is Black varies negatively with the tax rates even after controlling for income levels and voting behavior. Other important determinants of waste taxes are the percent of the state that votes, other state taxes, and inter-jurisdictional competition

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File URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/WPNumber/2009-01/$File/2009-01.PDF
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its series NCEE Working Paper Series with number 200901.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision: Jun 2009
Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp200901
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  1. Levinson, Arik, 1999. "NIMBY taxes matter: the case of state hazardous waste disposal taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 31-51, October.
  2. Robin R. Jenkins & Kelly B. Maguire & Cynthia L. Morgan, 2004. "Host Community Compensation and Municipal Solid Waste Landfills," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(4).
  3. Oates, Wallace E. & Portney, Paul R., 2003. "The political economy of environmental policy," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 325-354 Elsevier.
  4. Levinson, Arik, 2003. "Environmental Regulatory Competition: A Status Report and Some New Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(1), pages 91-106, March.
  5. Fredriksson, Per G. & Millimet, Daniel L., 2002. "Strategic Interaction and the Determination of Environmental Policy across U.S. States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 101-122, January.
  6. Ann Wolverton, 2009. "The Role of Demographic and Cost-Related Factors in Determining Where Plants Locate - A Tale of Two Texas Cities," NCEE Working Paper Series 200903, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Jun 2009.
  7. James T. Hamilton, 1995. "Testing for environmental racism: Prejudice, profits, political power?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 107-132.
  8. Arik Levinson, 1999. "State Taxes and Interstate Hazardous Waste Shipments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 666-677, June.
  9. Sigman, Hilary, 1996. "The Effects of Hazardous Waste Taxes on Waste Generation and Disposal," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 199-217, March.
  10. Aidt, Toke S., 1998. "Political internalization of economic externalities and environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-16, July.
  11. Hilary Sigman, 2003. "Taxing Hazardous Waste: The U.S. Experience," Departmental Working Papers 200306, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  12. Ronald J. Shadbegian & Wayne B. Gray, 2009. "Spatial Patterns in Regulatory Enforcement: Local Tests of Environmental Justice," NCEE Working Paper Series 200902, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Jun 2009.
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