Appreciates, Buildings Depreciate
land appreciates — capital rusts!
Few media stories about the real estate
market or the "housing bubble" — and probably few economists— recognize the reality that while land appreciates, buildings
depreciate. Commercial investors claim depreciation on their
income tax filings — in fact, the same building may be depreciated
over and over again by a series of owners, each time probably from a
higher starting point! But few will acknowledge that what has
actually occurred is a decline in the value of the building.
Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, windows and other systems deteriorate
even when well maintained. Equally important, features once
considered state-of-the-art become obsolete as technology moves
forward. Finally, a building that was highly suitable for a
Central Business District site at midcentury is likely to be an
underuse of the same site at the turn of the century, if the local
area is healthy.
And in the same period of time, the Central Business District is likely
to have expanded, changing the definition of "highest and best use" of
sites in the newer zone from residential to commercial, or
single-family residential to multi-family. Even a well-maintained and
updated mansion in the business district may no longer be a good use
of that site.
It appears that when a new house is built, the cost of the land
represents 20% to 25% of the selling price. In the first years,
the house's depreciation may be slow, because systems are new and the
owners may be adding amenities that the builder didn't provide (a deck,
closet and other fittings, landscaping, etc). But within a few
years, all the improvements other than perhaps well-maintained
landscaping start to depreciate a bit. Meanwhile, if the location
is good, the site will appreciate. If it is close to established
amenities of the central business district, that will tend to be fairly
steady. If it is in a fringe area, with new schools, new
firehouse, slowly developing shopping and services, as those services
start to be developed, the site value will begin to rise.
Depending on the site's proximity to secure and high-paying jobs,
appreciation may be rapid. Within a few years, land's share of
the total property value will pass 50% and then 75%. When it
gets as high as 85%, there may begin to be a trend toward teardowns.
of the northern suburbs of Chicago.) In some areas, sites get recycled
rather frequently. (Think
A May, 2006, Federal Reserve Board study confirmed that
single family houses depreciate at 1.5% per year. Can commercial buildings
be much different? Certainly machinery will tend to depreciate, no matter
how well it is maintained. That same study said that, in the top 46 metro
markets, land averaged about
51% of the total value of single family housing in 2004, with a range
from about 20% in Oklahoma City to over 88% in San Francisco. (Interestingly,
the average value of the housing stock varied far less than the land
values per house!)
Henry George: The Condition
of Labor — An Open Letter to Pope Leo XIII in response to Rerum
God’s laws do not change. Though their applications may alter
with altering conditions, the same principles of right and wrong that
hold when men are few and industry is rude also hold amid teeming populations
and complex industries. In our cities of millions and our states of scores
of millions, in a civilization where the division of labor has gone so
far that large numbers are hardly conscious that they are land-users,
it still remains true that we are all land animals and can live only
on land, and that land is God’s bounty to all, of which no one
can be deprived without being murdered, and for which no one can be compelled
to pay another without being robbed. But even in a state of society where
the elaboration of industry and the increase of permanent improvements
have made the need for private possession of land wide-spread, there
is no difficulty in conforming individual possession with the equal right
to land. For as soon as any piece of land will yield to the possessor
a larger return than is had by similar labor on other land a value attaches
to it which is shown when it is sold or rented. Thus, the value of the
land itself, irrespective of the value of any improvements in or on it,
always indicates the precise value of the benefit to which all are entitled
in its use, as distinguished from the value which, as producer or successor
of a producer, belongs to the possessor in individual right.
To combine the advantages of private possession with the justice of
common ownership it is only necessary therefore to take for common uses
what value attaches to land irrespective of any exertion of labor on
it. The principle is the same as in the case referred to, where a human
father leaves equally to his children things not susceptible of specific
division or common use. In that case such things would be sold or rented
and the value equally applied.
It is on this common-sense principle that we, who term ourselves single-tax
men, would have the community act.
We do not propose to assert equal rights to land by keeping land common,
letting any one use any part of it at any time. We do not propose the
task, impossible in the present state of society, of dividing land in
equal shares; still less the yet more impossible task of keeping it so
We propose — leaving land in the private possession of individuals,
with full liberty on their part to give, sell or bequeath it — simply
to levy on it for public uses a tax that shall equal the annual value
of the land itself, irrespective of the use made of it or the improvements
on it. And since this would provide amply for the need of public revenues,
we would accompany this tax on land values with the repeal of all taxes
now levied on the products and processes of industry — which taxes,
since they take from the earnings of labor, we hold to be infringements
of the right of property.
This we propose, not as a cunning device of human ingenuity, but as
a conforming of human regulations to the will of God.
God cannot contradict himself nor impose on his creatures laws that
If it be God’s command to men that they should not steal — that
is to say, that they should respect the right of property which each
one has in the fruits of his labor;
And if he be also the Father of all men, who in his common bounty has
intended all to have equal opportunities for sharing;
Then, in any possible stage of civilization, however elaborate, there
must be some way in which the exclusive right to the products of industry
may be reconciled with the equal right to land.
If the Almighty be consistent with himself, it cannot be, as say those
socialists referred to by you, that in order to secure the equal participation
of men in the opportunities of life and labor we must ignore the right
of private property. Nor yet can it be, as you yourself in the Encyclical
seem to argue, that to secure the right of private property we must ignore
the equality of right in the opportunities of life and labor. To say
the one thing or the other is equally to deny the harmony of God’s
But, the private possession of land, subject to the payment to the community
of the value of any special advantage thus given to the individual, satisfies
both laws, securing to all equal participation in the bounty of the Creator
and to each the full ownership of the products of his labor. ...
Nor do we hesitate to say that this way of securing the equal right
to the bounty of the Creator and the exclusive right to the products
of labor is the way intended by God for raising public revenues. For
we are not atheists, who deny God; nor semi-atheists, who deny that he
has any concern in politics and legislation.
It is true as you say — a salutary truth too often forgotten — that “man
is older than the state, and he holds the right of providing for the
life of his body prior to the formation of any state.” Yet, as
you too perceive, it is also true that the state is in the divinely appointed
order. For He who foresaw all things and provided for all things, foresaw
and provided that with the increase of population and the development
of industry the organization of human society into states or governments
would become both expedient and necessary.
No sooner does the state arise than, as we all know, it needs revenues.
This need for revenues is small at first, while population is sparse,
industry rude and the functions of the state few and simple. But with
growth of population and advance of civilization the functions of the
state increase and larger and larger revenues are needed.
Now, He that made the world and placed man in it, He that pre-ordained
civilization as the means whereby man might rise to higher powers and
become more and more conscious of the works of his Creator, must have
foreseen this increasing need for state revenues and have made provision
for it. That is to say: The increasing need for public revenues with
social advance, being a natural, God-ordained need, there must be a right
way of raising them — some way that we can truly say is the way
intended by God. It is clear that this right way of raising public revenues
must accord with the moral law.
It must not take from individuals what rightfully belongs to individuals.
It must not give some an advantage over others, as by increasing the
prices of what some have to sell and others must buy.
It must not lead men into temptation, by requiring trivial oaths, by
making it profitable to lie, to swear falsely, to bribe or to take bribes.
It must not confuse the distinctions of right and wrong, and weaken
the sanctions of religion and the state by creating crimes that are not
sins, and punishing men for doing what in itself they have an undoubted
right to do.
It must not repress industry. It must not check commerce. It must not
punish thrift. It must offer no impediment to the largest production
and the fairest division of wealth.
Let me ask your Holiness to consider the taxes on the processes and
products of industry by which through the civilized world public revenues
are collected —
the octroi duties that surround Italian cities
the monstrous customs duties that hamper
intercourse between so-called Christian states;
the taxes on occupations,
on earnings, on
investments, on the building of houses, on
the cultivation of
fields, on industry and thrift in all forms.
Can these be the ways God has intended
that governments should raise the means
they need? Have any of them the characteristics indispensable in any
a right one?
All these taxes violate the moral law. They take by force what belongs
to the individual alone; they give to the unscrupulous an advantage over
the scrupulous; they have the effect, nay are largely intended, to increase
the price of what some have to sell and others must buy; they corrupt
government; they make oaths a mockery; they shackle commerce; they fine
industry and thrift; they lessen the wealth that men might enjoy, and
enrich some by impoverishing others.
Yet what most strikingly shows how opposed to Christianity is this system
of raising public revenues is its influence on thought.
Christianity teaches us that all men are brethren; that their true interests
are harmonious, not antagonistic. It gives us, as the golden rule of
life, that we should do to others as we would have others do to us. But
out of the system of taxing the products and processes of labor, and
out of its effects in increasing the price of what some have to sell
and others must buy, has grown the theory of “protection,” which
denies this gospel, which holds Christ ignorant of political economy
and proclaims laws of national well-being utterly at variance with his
teaching. This theory sanctifies national hatreds; it inculcates a universal
war of hostile tariffs; it teaches peoples that their prosperity lies
in imposing on the productions of other peoples restrictions they do
not wish imposed on their own; and instead of the Christian doctrine
of man’s brotherhood it makes injury of foreigners a civic virtue.
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Can anything more
clearly show that to tax the products and processes of industry is not
the way God intended public revenues to be raised?
But to consider what we propose — the raising of public revenues
by a single tax on the value of land irrespective of improvements — is
to see that in all respects this does conform to the moral law.
Let me ask your Holiness to keep in mind that the value we propose to
tax, the value of land irrespective of improvements, does not come from
any exertion of labor or investment of capital on or in it — the
values produced in this way being values of improvement which we would
exempt. The value of land irrespective of improvement
is the value that attaches to land by reason of increasing
population and social progress. This is a value that always goes to the owner as owner, and never does
and never can go to the user; for if the user be a different person from
the owner he must always pay the owner for it in rent or in purchase-money;
while if the user be also the owner, it is as owner, not as user, that
he receives it, and by selling or renting the land he can, as owner,
continue to receive it after he ceases to be a user.
Thus, taxes on land irrespective of improvement cannot lessen the rewards
of industry, nor add to prices,* nor in any way take from the individual
what belongs to the individual. They can take only the value that attaches
to land by the growth of the community, and which therefore belongs to
the community as a whole.
* As to this point it may be well to add that all
economists are agreed that taxes on land values irrespective of improvement
or use — or what in the terminology of political economy is
styled rent, a term distinguished from the ordinary use of the word
rent by being applied solely to payments for the use of land itself — must
be paid by the owner and cannot be shifted by him on the user. To
explain in another way the reason given in the text: Price is not
determined by the will of the seller or the will of the buyer, but
by the equation of demand and supply, and therefore as to things
constantly demanded and constantly produced rests at a point determined
by the cost of production — whatever tends to increase the
cost of bringing fresh quantities of such articles to the consumer
increasing price by checking supply, and whatever tends to reduce
such cost decreasing price by increasing supply. Thus taxes on wheat
or tobacco or cloth add to the price that the consumer must pay,
and thus the cheapening in the cost of producing steel which improved
processes have made in recent years has greatly reduced the price
of steel. But land has no cost of production, since it is created
by God, not produced by man. Its price therefore is fixed —
1 (monopoly rent), where land is held in close monopoly,
by what the owners can extract from the users under penalty of
deprivation and consequently of starvation, and amounts to all
that common labor can earn on it beyond what is necessary to life;
2 (economic rent proper), where there is no special monopoly, by what the
particular land will yield to common labor over and above what may be had
by like expenditure and exertion on land having no special advantage and
for which no rent is paid; and,
3 (speculative rent, which is a species of monopoly rent, telling particularly
in selling price), by the expectation of future increase of value from
social growth and improvement, which expectation causing landowners to
withhold land at present prices has the same effect as combination.
Taxes on land values or economic rent can therefore
never be shifted by the landowner to the land-user, since they in
no wise increase the demand for land or enable landowners to check
supply by withholding land from use. Where rent depends on mere monopolization,
a case I mention because rent may in this way be demanded for the
use of land even before economic or natural rent arises, the taking
by taxation of what the landowners were able to extort from labor
could not enable them to extort any more, since laborers, if not
left enough to live on, will die. So, in the case of economic rent
proper, to take from the landowners the premiums they receive, would
in no way increase the superiority of their land and the demand for
it. While, so far as price is affected by speculative rent, to compel
the landowners to pay taxes on the value of land whether they were
getting any income from it or not, would make it more difficult for
them to withhold land from use; and to tax the full value would not
merely destroy the power but the desire to do so.
To take land values for the state, abolishing all taxes on the products
of labor, would therefore leave to the laborer the full produce of labor;
to the individual all that rightfully belongs to the individual. It would
impose no burden on industry, no check on commerce, no punishment on
thrift; it would secure the largest production and the fairest distribution
of wealth, by leaving men free to produce and to exchange as they please,
without any artificial enhancement of prices; and by taking for public
purposes a value that cannot be carried off, that cannot be hidden, that
of all values is most easily ascertained and most certainly and cheaply
collected, it would enormously lessen the number of officials, dispense
with oaths, do away with temptations to bribery and evasion, and abolish
man-made crimes in themselves innocent.
But, further: That God has intended the state to obtain the revenues
it needs by the taxation of land values is shown by the same order and
degree of evidence that shows that God has intended the milk of the mother
for the nourishment of the babe.
See how close is the analogy. In that primitive
condition ere the need for the state arises there are
no land values. The products of labor
have value, but in the sparsity of population no value as yet attaches
to land itself. But as increasing density of population
and increasing elaboration of industry necessitate the organization
of the state, with
its need for revenues, value begins to attach to land. As
population still increases and industry grows more elaborate,
so the needs for public
revenues increase. And at the same time and from the same
causes land values increase. The connection is invariable. The value of things produced
by labor tends to decline with social development, since the larger scale
of production and the improvement of processes tend steadily to reduce
their cost. But the value of land on which population
centers goes up and up. Take Rome or Paris or London or New York or Melbourne. Consider
the enormous value of land in such cities as compared with the value
of land in sparsely settled parts of the same countries. To what is this
due? Is it not due to the density and activity
of the populations of those cities — to the very causes
that require great public expenditure for streets, drains,
public buildings, and all the many things needed
for the health, convenience and safety of such great cities? See how
with the growth of such cities the one thing that steadily increases
in value is land; how the opening of roads, the building of railways,
the making of any public improvement, adds to the value of land. Is it
not clear that here is a natural law — that is to say a tendency
willed by the Creator? Can it mean anything else than that He who ordained
the state with its needs has in the values which attach to land provided
the means to meet those needs?
That it does mean this and nothing else is confirmed if we look deeper
still, and inquire not merely as to the intent, but as to the purpose
of the intent. If we do so we may see in this natural law by which land
values increase with the growth of society not only such a perfectly
adapted provision for the needs of society as gratifies our intellectual
perceptions by showing us the wisdom of the Creator, but a purpose with
regard to the individual that gratifies our moral perceptions by opening
to us a glimpse of his beneficence.
Consider: Here is a natural law by which as society
advances the one thing that increases in value is land — a
natural law by virtue of which all growth of population,
all advance of the arts, all general
improvements of whatever kind, add to a fund that both the
commands of justice and the dictates of expediency prompt
us to take for the common
uses of society. Now, since increase in the fund
available for the common uses of society is increase in the
gain that goes equally to each member
of society, is it not clear that the law by which land values
increase with social advance while the value of the products
of labor does not
increase, tends with the advance of civilization to make
the share that goes equally to each member of society more
and more important as compared
with what goes to him from his individual earnings, and thus
to make the advance of civilization lessen relatively the
differences that in
a ruder social state must exist between the strong and the
weak, the fortunate and the unfortunate? Does it not show
the purpose of the Creator
to be that the advance of man in civilization should be an
advance not merely to larger powers but to a greater and
greater equality, instead
of what we, by our ignoring of his intent, are making it,
an advance toward a more and more monstrous inequality? ... read the whole letter
Henry George: The
Land Question (1881)
When a man makes a fortune by the rise of real estate,
as in New York and elsewhere many men have done within the past few
months, what does it mean? It means that he may have fine clothes,
costly food, a grand house luxuriously furnished, etc. Now, these
things are not the spontaneous fruits of the soil; neither do they fall
heaven, nor are they cast up by
the sea. They are products of labor – can be produced only by labor.
And hence, if men who do no labor get them, it must necessarily be at the expense
of those who do labor.
Louis Post: Outlines of Louis F. Post's
Lectures, with Illustrative Notes and Charts (1894) — Appendix:
Q21. Do not the benefits of good government increase the value of
houses as well as of land?
A. No. Houses are never worth any more than it costs to reproduce them.
Good government tends to diminish the cost of house building; how, then, can
government increase the value of houses? You are confused by the fact
that houses, being attached to land, seem to increase in value, when it is the
land and not the house that really increases. It is the same mistake that a somewhat
noted economic teacher, who advocates protection as his specialty, made when
to show that there is an "unearned increment" to houses as well as
to lands. He did so by instancing a lot of vacant land which had risen in value
from $5000 to $10,000, and comparing it with a house on a neighboring lot which,
as he said, had also increased in value from $5000 to $10,000. At the moment
when he wrote, the house to which he referred could have been reproduced for
$5000; and had he been capable of thinking out a proposition he must have discovered
that it was the lot on which the house stood, and not the house itself, which
had increased in value. ... read the book
Charles B. Fillebrown: A Catechism
of Natural Taxation, from Principles of
Natural Taxation (1917)
Q61. Do you think there would be any injustice in taking by taxation
the future increment in the value of land?
A. Fifteen professors of political economy have answered "Yes." Ninety-four
have answered "No."
Q62. Would it be wise to take gradually in taxation, say, 1/4, one half,
or 3/4 of the future increase in economic rent?
A. One hundred and one professors of political economy have answered "Yes." Twenty-nine
have answered "No." ... read the whole article
Jeff Smith: What To Do About the
Real Estate Bubble
What’s bubbling, and until when?
Sellers are happy. So are developers and speculators. Real estate has
gone all bubbly, and that bubble has gone ballistic. What goes up,
however, must soon do something else. ...
Actually, it’s not housing whose price has entered the
stratosphere. Buildings age – get older, more worn out. What’s getting
more valuable is the land, the location – whether it has a building on
it or not. Buildings you can make more of, but land you can not,
especially locations along the coasts or on the good side of town. None
of that would matter if you could ever get buildings to hover around in
the air. Meanwhile however, speculators are happy. Read the whole article
Michael Hudson and Kris Feder: Real Estate and the Capital
... the Fed statistics37
understate land values for methodological reasons. Starting with
estimates for overall real estate market prices, Fed statisticians
subtract estimated replacement prices for existing buildings and
capital improvements to derive land values as a residual. These
replacement prices are based on the Commerce Department’s index of
construction costs. Thus, building values are estimated to increase
steadily over time, on the implicit assumption that all such property
is worth reproducing at today’s rising costs.
37 Balance Sheets for the
Economy, 1945-94, Tables B. 11, B. 12 and R 11.
However, the value of any building tends
eventually to decline,
until finally it is scrapped and replaced. It is the value of land
which tends to rise as population and income grow (over the long run,
with cyclical swings), precisely because no more land can be produced.
Thus, capital gains in real estate result mainly from land appreciation.
Building values fall because of physical deterioration, but also
because buildings undergo locational obsolescence as neighborhood land
uses change over time, so market prices tend to fall below replacement
costs. It would not be economical to rebuild many types of structures
on the same site if they were suddenly destroyed.38 In
particular, where land use is intensifying over the long run, rising
land values effectively drain the capital value out of old buildings.
This is because the salvage value of land (its worth upon renewal)
tends to rise, while the scrap or salvage value of most immovable
improvements is negligible. Where land has alternative uses, rent is
not its current net income but its opportunity cost -- the minimum
required by the market to warrant keeping the land in its present use
instead of converting it to the best alternative use. As the land value
rises, a rising share of the property income must be imputed to the
land and a falling share remains to be imputed to the improvements.
Read the whole article
Herbert J. G. Bab: Property
Tax -- Cause of Unemployment
... A defect
of our property tax system that is seldom mentioned is that it puts a
premium on obsolescence and penalizes new housing. This is so
because property taxes are ad valorem
taxes. Every piece of real estate except land is subject to
depreciation. Thus the owners
of old and obsolete real estate will pay little in taxes, while newly
constructed buildings will bear the brunt of the tax.
This characteristic of the property tax is obscured by the rising
trends of land values, which in many cases offset the loss in value of
the improvement. Increases in tax rates and differences in assessment
procedures and practices further hide the fact that ad valorem taxes
favor obsolete real property. ...
Homeowners who bought their homes some time in the past can reap large
profits when selling them. Old homes should sell at a lower price,
because of the depreciation of the building, but in most cases the
depreciation of the building is more than offset by the increased value
of the lot. This increased value forces buyers to increase their down
payments or to increase their loan are higher, many families are priced
out of the market. ...
The administration of the property tax leaves very much to be desired.
Assessment procedures and practices are in many cases erroneous,
arbitrary and widely variant. So is the ratio of assessed value to full
market or cash value. In many states no public records are available
indicating assessed values and the taxpayer has no of knowing what his
tax bill will be.
The most serious defect in the
administration of property taxation is the continuous, widespread and
enormous underassessment of land. A survey made recently found that in
9 California counties, vacant lots and acreage were assessed at only
5.3% of the cash value, while residential property was assessed at
19.3% of its value. The illegal underassessment of land deprives local
governments of millions of dollars of revenues. Moreover, it further
aggravates the serious defects of property taxation.
We have analyzed the effects of
property taxation on improvements as distinguished from those caused by
the incidence of these taxes on land.
- We have found that a high and burdensome tax rate on
will discourage residential construction, create unemployment, penalize
home-ownership, aggravate the housing shortage and force up rents.
- Yet a low tax rate on land will have similar if not
effects: it will lead to a rise in urban land values, which in turn
will discourage residential construction, create unemployment, penalize
home-ownership, aggravate the housing shortage and force up rents.
... The paradox of property taxation
consists in the fact that lower rates on improvements produce the same
results as higher rates on land and conversely higher rates on
improvements produce the same results as lower rates on land. Read
the whole article
Charles T. Root — Not a Single
Now imagine for a moment the effect upon the appearance of a city and
upon the comfort of its population which would result from the change of
fiscal policy which this article proposes. At present, a tempting premium
is placed upon keeping land unimproved or inadequately improved, while
a heavy penalty is imposed upon improvement. Most land appreciates constantly.
All buildings depreciate from the moment of completion. Yet the building
is taxed equally with the land.
What incentive does such a system offer the speculative landowner to put
up a commodious, well-lighted modern structure in place of the old ruin
which now pays him so well? The old one cannot depreciate much more, and
while paying a trifling tax because of its physical worthlessness, he is
thereby enabled to collect and pocket the economic rent of the ground,
which the community is continually rendering more valuable. The new building
would absorb a large amount of capital, would begin to run down even before
it could be occupied, and would be taxed to the limit. Why then is not
the landlord justified in letting well enough alone, enjoying the growing
economic rent, and waiting till he can get a fancy price for the right
to collect it?
But reverse the conditions. Reclaim for the community its natural income,
making it expensive either to keep needed land vacant or to withhold it
from the ready and willing to improve it to the full extent of its possibilities.
Does it require severe intellectual effort to foresee the results? Better
and better houses, apartments, tenements, offices and stores, more employment
for labor in all enterprises now held back by the shadow of the tax-gatherer,
an end of all tax-lying, tax-evasion and tax-injustice, and withal, a public
revenue adequate to all real public needs.
What a contrast to the existing plan of pouring public money into the
laps of individual landowners ... read
the whole article
Bill Batt: Comment
on Parts of the NYS Legislative Tax Study Commission's 1985 study “Who
Pays New York Taxes?”
Except in the implicit recognition involved in their analysis of shifting,
the distinction between land and improvements was opaque. This is a
remarkable oversight, because improvements typically depreciate at
the rate of 0.5 to 1.5 percent annually; only land values appreciate.9
And in view of the fact that assessments in New York localities have
historically been very infrequent, one can understand how the land
values are in reality a far higher proportion of parcel value than
assessments would suggest.10 This means that in a period of seven years,
for example, a property parcel could easily increase in price by 50
percent, far more if recent real estate market history is to be illustrative.
Moreover real estate prices varied greatly in their rates of change
during this time span; upstate New York was largely stable, but downstate
localities experienced huge booms and busts.
Recognition of this would tend to favor what is known as the “new
view” of property tax incidence, an acceptance of the idea that ”the
burden of the tax on improvements remains with the owners of capital
in the form of a lower net return instead of being shifted to users
of property in the form of higher rents or prices.”11 Proponents
point out that “the tax on improvements is essentially a nationwide
tax on capital . . . [and therefore] its incidence will depend on the
characteristics of supply and demand for capital nationally rather
than on a single market.”12 The effect of this is to make the
tax ”highly progressive.”13 Nonetheless, in a small footnote,
Messrs. Pomp and Phares elected to go with the “old view” in
stating that, “it seems most appropriate to assume that the new
view does not apply to the analysis of tax burdens within one specific
state (underlining in original). Thus, the old or traditional view
was adhered to in the analysis. . ; that is, the excise effect of the
tax was considered dominant.”14 The ubiquity of New York's property
tax, and that it has over 1,300 local assessment and tax districts,
may well have escaped their notice. ... read
the whole commentary