"Protect land speculators" — Illinois PIRG

A solicitor stopped by my house a week or so ago pushing Illinois PIRG’s campaign to “save our transit.” They do have a report, funded by the “Illinois PIRG Education Fund” and prepared by Brian Imus, Nick Christensen, and Phineas Baxandall, that explains how they want us to pay more money for transit service.

The report notes that “Locations served by transit… show increased property values compared
to similar locations not served by transit.” Although they do cite sources for this assertion, they don’t refer to either of the Chicago studies which are (see footnotes 3 and 4 on page three of this). So then do they propose a tax on location value?

No surprises here. They proclaim “Seven Principles for Funding Transit:”

1-Enhance market efficiency

2-Low collection costs

3-Reliability

4-Diverse funding

5-Fare increases are self defeating

6-Budget accountability

7-Community participation

They do provide some discussion of each. Then they evaluate several potential sources of funding:

-Sales taxes

-Gasoline tax

-Rental car tax

-(auto) License, registration or title fees

-Several other driving-related taxes

-Real estate development impact fees

-Stormwater fees

-Real estate transfer tax

-Parking tax

Their recommendation:

-Higher sales tax

-Extend sales tax to services

-Establish a real estate transfer tax, or maybe one of a few other taxes.

But although they acknowledge that transit service increases land value, there is no consideration of this option. Instead, they want to reduce economic efficiency by raisng taxes on economic activity.

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3 Responses to “"Protect land speculators" — Illinois PIRG”

  1. The report, which can be found at http://illinoispirg.org/IL.asp?id2=33749 actually has a whole section suggesting the merits of an increase in the real estate transfer tax, and particularly for properties that sell for a high price. The discussion starts on page 10 and also includes proposals for development impact fees. Henry George would be pretty happy about this report.

    Phineas Baxandall

  2. taxpayer says:

    test comment to see whether simple things can be done.

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