Scott Armstrong Should Follow Pat Toomey’s Lead on the Allentown School District Budget

Pat Toomey:

Copy the City of Allentown millage rates:


  1. Have you talked to Toomey to see if he still holds this 13yr old opinion?

  2. Ok.

    Have you compared what Toomey recommended the proper tax rates/ratios be, vs. yours? Yours are punitive, using the tax code to beat people into submission, and allow only your rich white friends to own property that isn’t immediately built up.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      As I understand it, Toomey supported the 5-1 ratio and was for completely doing away with the tax on property improvements. And I agree. It’s not punitive. The tax code should discourage people from monopolizing land that they don’t intend to use for a long time after the purchase date. Speculation drives up rents, which is bad, so the cost of carry for the speculator should be pretty high.

      • What about the person who owns a vacant lot in an economy where bank financing isn’t available and quality commercial tenants are damn near impossible to come by, and it just doesn’t make any economic sense to build?

        You want to crush the person who is making a rational decision. A tax code that crushes rational thought is a recipe for disaster.

  3. I can’t find anything on this on the web, but was the measure successful in increasing revenue for the city government beyond what normally would have been expected? Or did it spur a higher degree of property improvements than had been seen?

    The idea makes sense, just wonder what the outcome was in application.

  4. Jon Geeting says:

    I would just ask who you think should pay the cost of land speculation? There is a cost to monopolizing land so that it can’t be put to productive use. Who should pay that cost? Should the cost be diffused and paid by all renters? Or should the landowner absorb all the costs? I think basic fairness, and good economic sense, say that the landowner should absorb it all.

    • There’s the point Jon – you’re assuming that if someone doesn’t build immediately that they are speculating. You refuse to take economic and market circumstances into account. That’s inane.

      By your definition, if zoning permits a 20 story building, anyone building less than 20 stories represents a cost because that air space isn’t put to productive use.

      Or putting 10 apartments where it’s zoned for 20.

      Where does it end? You have a ton more work to do here before any case is made.

      • Jon Geeting says:

        Anybody who buys land without intending to build on it shortly after the date of purchase falls under my definition of speculator. Can’t build right away or don’t want to? Then sell. Not building out to the full allowable land use does impose a cost when the land is expensive. The question is who should pay – the landowner or the taxpayers? I see zero good arguments that the taxpayer should pay.

        Henry George made the case at length and heavyweight economists on the left, right and center have backed him up in spades. Anything that both Milton Friedman and Joe Stiglitz can get behind is going to be a pretty rock solid idea.

        • So by your standards I should be prohibited by government from either investing in or planning for my future? That you want to use the tax code to punish me?

          Yep that makes sense.

          Jon, everyone has signed off on the theory. There is no common consensus on the details, and that’s where the damage gets done by people like you.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            I don’t think you should be prohibited from speculating on land, just that the tax code should lean against it. Your “planning for the future” has costs for others who have to pay rent in the present.

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