Tuesday, June 9, 2009

An Act Establishing a Land Value Taxation Pilot Program

Passed unanimously in the House and Senate in the January to June 2009 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly

This is essentially a “study” bill. It enables the City of New London to convene a group of stakeholders to plan a land value tax program.
In its completed form, the plan should include:
· a process for separating the tax rates of buildings from that of land,
· an identified geography for a land value tax pilot program (this would likely translate to the main business district down town), and
· a list of legal and administrative issues that have to be considered or resolved before assessments can be changed in this way.

When the plan has been approved by the city’s legislative body, it is to be submitted to the Office of Policy and Management. OPM will review the plan, create a pilot land value tax program, and report on the program to the relevant committees of the Connecticut General Assembly.

New London will be ideally positioned to test the theory that a fear of higher property taxes motivates owners to defer investing in blighted, distressed or vacant properties. If improvements to land are taxed at a lower rate, will the incentive switch and will property owners maximize the development on their land? New London has more than its share of vacant or under-used properties in its downtown. This pilot may encourage compact, mixed use development on those sites.

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