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America’s top mayor uses the land tax

December 6, 2006

Harrisburg (PA) Mayor Steve Reed came in third in the world-wide “Outstanding Mayor” poll, but was the highest-scoring American.  Under Reed, Harrisburg adopted an increased land tax (the term in Pennsylvania is “split-rate tax”) which he credits as important in the revitalization of the City.

He enthusiastically took the opportunity of Pennsylvania local property tax reforms to apply a split rate valuation.This has been attacked by extreme conservatives and Reed has been high profile in answering them. He says “ in our central business district, for example, our two-tiered tax rate policy has specifically encouraged vertical development as opposed to low rise or horizontal development that seems to permeate suburban communities and which utilizes much more land than is necessary.” He says “ nine out of ten property owners gain from the system if compared directly with the single rate system in use in most municipalities in the state.”

Worldwide winner John So of Melbourne, Australia, also benefited from the land tax.

Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley was not one of the fifty finalists in the contest.

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