Tax Increases To Keep Neighborhoods Green
May 31, 2001
Voters in states and municipalities are approving new taxes to purchase open spaces. Last year, California approved $5 billion in acquisition funds. But open-space advocates say approving tax hikes for recreational and environmental purposes is an easier sell at the county and municipal level -- because voters are more willing to pay to keep land green when it is in their own neighborhood.
The movement is swiftly building momentum.
- In November 2000, voters approved 172 local measures, raising $2.4 billion for land acquisition -- a considerable jump from the $540 million raised in voting two years earlier.
- Residents of Boise voted last week to hike property taxes for two years and devote the $10 million to purchases of land outside the city.
- Last month, voters in McHenry County, Ill., and in DeKalb County, in the Atlanta area, passed bond referendums to buy open space.
- On Saturday, Hays County, Texas, near Austin, will vote on a similar $3.5 million bond issue.
Since March 31, Massachusetts towns have voted to raise property taxes as much as 3 percent to finance open-space acquisitions and other land issues.
Source: Martha J. Moore, "Cities Tax to Keep Land Green," USA Today, May 31, 2001.
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