property tax

Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities

June 24, 2019 // 0 Comments

Jessica Trounstine has recently published Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities (Cambridge). A fascinating empirical examination of how local governments have used the distribution of public goods and land use control to increase the wealth of white property owners at the expense of people of color and the poor. This post by Trounstine discusses the core argument of the book and some potential solutions. Her post is followed by several reactions to the book from notable scholars of local and urban politics. Read More

Thorny Property Politics: Cook County’s 2018 Democratic Primary for Assessor

October 30, 2018 // 1 Comment

By Amanda Kass | Assessors play an important role in the property tax process in the United States. A homeowner’s taxes are based on the estimated value of their home, and that estimate is made by the assessor. If an assessor over- or under-values a property, then the homeowner will be over- or under-taxed. Over-taxation can produce a cascade of negative consequences, including foreclosure for failure to pay property taxes, while cities want to maintain high collection rates. Read More

Fiscal Secession (or How Local Special Assessments are Exacerbating Service Inequality)

July 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

Mathew D. McCubbins and Ellen C. Seljan | Local governments across the United States often find themselves needing to seek out new revenue sources, particularly in the face of state limitations on taxation.  Our research examines the usage of special assessments, a particularly popular, but understudied source of local revenues, in the state of California. Today, special assessments are commonly used to back local infrastructure projects and provide growing number of public services, from local fire and police protection to street maintenance and repair. Read More