Land Tax Logic

RECEIVED Thu., March 31, 2005

Dear Editor,
    The Chronicle only noted the resulting unfair change in property taxes owed, that only the rich are likely to get a property tax reduction if HB 3 passes [“When Is a Tax Not a Tax? Ask the GOP.,” News, March 25].
    The damage is much worse than that.
    Remember the attention that is always called to "raising the tax base" by developers seeking lots of "partnering" with the city to justify subsidies of one sort or another? Lowering the property tax blows away the justification. Giant subsidies, such as Catellus will get for the Mueller tract, are hard to justify anyway.
    What the Lege powers really want is to keep the land tax part of the property tax as low as possible. The lower that tax, the higher the cost of land (and land deal profits) and the more the modest income earners can't afford to live in Austin.
    Conversely, the higher the tax on land, the lower the cost of land (and land deal profits) and the more the modest income earners can afford to live in Austin
    Take your pick. Our elected officials at all levels of government have.
Mary Lehmann
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