Optimal Commodity Taxation When Land and Structures Must Be Taxed at the Same Rate
We show that the optimal property tax rate rises with the ratio of land rents tostructure and land development costs. Californias high ratio of income to property taxrevenue and the distribution of Federal housing subsidies thus appear geographicallymisplaced. Proportional taxation of non-housing commodities is not optimal, evenwhen elasticities with respect to wages are identical. Absent externalities, the desirabilityof transportation taxes and anti-sprawl growth controls hinge on the relativeimportance of time versus money in commuting costs.
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