The fiscal impacts of use-value taxation in Prince William County, Virginia
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Concern that high property taxation of agricultural land encourages its conversion to nonagricultural uses has led to the adoption of use-value taxation practices. Use-value taxation has had mixed results as a deterrent to the conversion of agricultural and open space land. It has been argued that use-value taxation does not succeed in retaining open space along the rura1-urban fringe (Stocker 1975; Ferguson), and further that such programs may actually lower the community's property tax base significantly (Tiebout; Anderson 1993). Additionally, when land is taxed by its usevalue rather than market-value, the local tax base declines curtailing local public services and consequently reducing the attractiveness of the community for residential, commercial and industrial land uses (Abeyratne and Johnson, Bickerdike, Netzer, Oates).
This study seeks to determine the fiscal impacts of use-value taxation and incurred and immediate revenues generated by a particular land use project. By comparing the net impact on the property tax rate of different land uses, the effectiveness of land use taxation policies for communities can be determined. The fiscal impact of alternative land uses are measured using The Virginia Impact Projection (VIP) model. The empirical models employed are based on a static cross-sectional econometric analysis of Virginia counties initially developed by Johnson and Keeling and updated for the current analysis using more recent data. The empirical equations are used to construct a fiscal impact assessment (simulation) model. The simulation model allows the comparison of impact and baseline scenarios developed using alternative land uses.
It was found that the impact offarmland enrollment in use-value assessment programs is not as large when net impacts are considered rather than sole consideration of the direct property tax revenue changes.
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