Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Can Houston Be Saved?

The Economist detects subtle changes in Houston's land use and energy policy:

At a casual glance, Houston looks much as it ever did: a tangle of freeways running through a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, strip malls and mixed districts. A closer inspection, though, shows signs of change. The transport authority, which branched into light rail in 2004, is now planning three new lines, adding more than 20 miles of track. [...] Other changes are harder to see. The energy codes for buildings have been overhauled and the city is, astonishingly, America’s biggest municipal buyer of renewable energy; about a third of its power comes from Texan wind farms.

Steve Clowney


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And if Houston returned to the policies of Pastoriza, their assessor about 100 years ago, the community would recycle more of the value created by the investment in the existing trolley line and the planned one to serve the University of Houston campus.

Pastoriza recommended taxing just land values. Don't tax buildings -- they're created by individuals and corporations, and taxing such evidence of production is ... dumb! The wise alternative is to tax land value, which is created by the community, and ought to be recycled, month in and month out, to fund the various activities of the community, a/k/a government, rather than being permitted to reside in private pockets.

Pastoriza was a wise man, and he offered a wise direction to his community -- one all rational communities ought to follow.

Posted by: LVTfan | Jul 22, 2012 6:13:17 PM

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