Using the Pennsylvania Case Files to Understand the Slow, Uneven Progress of Land Value Taxation
Mark Alan Hughes
Pennsylvania is the only state government in the U.S. to enable split-rate property taxation among its local governments. Since 1913, Pennsylvania has produced a body of sustained outcomes across 33 municipalities: 16 that have current split rates, 5 that have rescinded split rates, and 12 that have considered but never implemented split rates. These cases present an array of arguments used for and against land value taxation. The concern here is not with the validity of these arguments but with their efficacy in implementing, promoting, defeating, and/or rescinding the split-rate tax as a form of land taxation. Detailed narratives are constructed of local policy debates in four cities: Pittsburgh, Allentown, Harrisburg, and York.