April 13, 2013

Redistributive Property Taxes: Who's in the Providence Crosshairs?

Justin Katz

The way property taxes work, in Rhode Island, revaluations are little more than a way of redistributing the tax burden, and in Providence, a shift from taxing buildings to taxing land has repercussions for a number of recent issues, from the Superman Building to legislation affecting the entire state.

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"Obviously, if the weight of property value has shifted from buildings to land, the taxes owed on undeveloped parcels will have gone up considerably."

This should create a number of "motivated sellers". Of course, most of these parcels are probably small and unbuildable because of zoning and Board of Health restrictions.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 13, 2013 2:26 PM

"a shift from taxing buildings to taxing land has repercussions for a number of recent issues, from the Superman Building"

According to today's news a Boston developer is interested in the Superman BUilding, as apartments. This will need zoning approval. I doubt that this expression of interest is as new as the "news report" would indicate.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 13, 2013 2:30 PM

This is more of a response to the subsequent twitter conversation, but, while I highly favor a land value tax (or at least a heavily land-focused property tax), with the exception of the results, this and that are two unrelated things.

This is a strange new valuation for land that means that either land is being overvalued now or was undervalued in the past. Either way the people deserve an explanation. The effect will, of course, be to push more of the property tax burden toward land (still beneficial, overall). The real point, though, is that there is nothing about a land value tax that would require, or even suggest, raising land values above their true worth. Regardless of what kind of property tax you want, you still need accurate evaluations above all. So if this is some plot to refocus Providence's property taxes toward land, they are doing it very, very wrong.


-your point about all taxes being viewed by some through the lens of income is quite correct, and underappreciated


-Washington, if the land is unbuildable, it shouldn't be worth very much.

Posted by: Mario at April 14, 2013 1:23 AM


This is a way to lower the tax buren for commercial properties and shft it to residential properties without changing the homestead exemption.

Posted by: John at April 18, 2013 11:40 AM
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