Fiscal Zoning and Economists' Views of the Property Tax

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Download Document

Date Published 2013
Primary Author William Fischel
Other Authors
Theme Taxation of Residential Real Estate


Fiscal zoning is the practice of using local land-use regulation to preserve and possibly enhance the local property tax base. Economists agree that if localities can conduct “perfect zoning,” which effectively makes all real estate development decisions subject to a review that balances its benefits and costs to the community, then the local property tax can be converted into a benefit tax and lacks the deadweight loss of taxation. This essay argues that American zoning is closer to this ideal than many other economists think. The practice is often difficult to detect because zoning serves several objectives besides fiscal prudence.

< Back to Search Results