Desperate Cities Begin Giving Away Land, Taxing Non-Profits

Foreclosure Bakersfield


The NYT has a nice look at what some cash-strapped cities are doing to make ends meet.Around the nation, cities and towns facing grim budget circumstances are grasping at unlikely — some would say desperate — means to bolster their shrunken tax bases. Like Beatrice, places like Dayton, Ohio, and Grafton, Ill., are giving away land for nominal fees or for nothing in the hope that it will boost the tax rolls and cut the lawn-mowing bills.

As the article puts it, they’re reviving the idea of homesteading, basically.

(As an aside, it’s hard to imagine real estate prices firming much, when the trend is for towns to give it away.)

Another tax-raising idea that’s sure to anger folks?

And leaders in Manchester, N.H., and Concord, Mass., are taking an approach that might have once seemed politically unthinkable. They are re-examining whether their communities’ nonprofit organisations really deserve to be tax-free.

“The stress of the past couple years is causing us to look absolutely everywhere,” said Anthony Logalbo, the finance director in Concord, where officials realised that 15 per cent of the town’s property value had become tax exempt and sent letters to nonprofit groups asking whether they would consider paying something to the town.

Good luck on that.

Read the whole thing >

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