The case for increasing property taxes… on vacant land

I would love for this to start a conversation about vacant land. Any and all criticism is welcome.

By simply tweaking the ‘assessment level’ on vacant land, we can: 

  1. Reduce investor speculation.
  2. Build middle class housing.
  3. Encourage property development.
  4. Increase the land controlled by the city.
  5. Preserve old buildings.

So, what is ‘assessment level’ and how can the city adjust it in order to produce these outcomes? 

First, let’s review how property taxes are calculated. This is from the Cook County assessor’s website:

This is the formula determining property tax bills. There are a lot of steps, but let’s focus on line 2: Assessment Level. 

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