Mixed-Use Downtown Development Puts Standard Malls’ Tax Yield to Shame

By Mary Newsom

For Release Sunday, July 11, 2010

As local politicians across the country get scorched by voter anger over recession-induced budget cuts — laying off teachers, closing schools and libraries and slashing services — perhaps they’ll be more receptive than usual to some powerful and surprising tax revenue numbers.

So what follows is about fiscal prudence as much as it is about smart city planning.

Conventional wisdom, of course, says that to prop up the property tax base, a high-end shopping mall is just the ticket. But when Sarasota County, Fla., looked at where the county government gets the biggest bang for its property tax buck, it found some numbers that may surprise a lot of people.