Funding Public Education Through Regressive Wealth Taxation In 169 Connecticut Towns

Authors: Connor Morrin*,
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Political Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: Political Geography, Education, New England, Connecticut, Northeast, Taxes, Budgets
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Public education in Connecticut is funded primarily through municipal property tax collection. An analysis of municipal residential grand lists in 169 Connecticut cities and towns reveals a wide gap in per-student housing value on the property tax rolls. Examining the extent to which a robust property tax base has a positive effect on education outcomes such as standardized test scores, teacher pay, and board of education budgets, I conclude that school quality and housing value are a feedback loop which perpetuates inequality of opportunity and inequality of outcomes in the Connecticut public education system. In order to correct these inequalities and fulfill the promise articulated in article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the state of Connecticut must reform its education funding model. The current funding model, a regressive taxation scheme, wherein more valuable residential properties in more desirable municipalities with better public schools are taxed at a much lower effective rate than less valuable properties in less desirable municipalities with struggling public schools is not sustainable and will most likely continue to produce dramatically unequal education outcomes.

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