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Downtown Hartford, Connecticut, has some lovely green space, Bushnell Park, at its center. But within a block or two are more than a dozen undeveloped lots, some of which are used for parking, while others sit empty. The City Council would like to levy higher property taxes on the lots as a way to encourage development.
It passed a resolution calling for a “land value tax” late last year. But Democratic Mayor Luke Bronin is still weighing whether to sign off on the tax, which is aimed at sprucing up Hartford’s city center and making it more inviting to visitors, businesses and shoppers.
The question in his mind is whether the tax would work as advertised in every instance. “In some cases you might spur development by making it [the land] more costly,” Bronin said. But in others, making improvements may not be cost-effective for landowners.