Just Economics, LLC

Just Economics, LLC Just Economics helps communities harmonize economic incentives with public policy objectives for job creation, affordable housing & sustainability.

Just Economics provides public policy and policy implementation research and advice to governmental entities, associations and interest groups with a focus on harmonizing economic incentives with public policy objectives for job creation, affordable housing, transportation efficiencies and sustainable development.

Operating as usual

An event to examine the impact of infrastructure on equity.
09/09/2021
Creating Equitable Infrastructure

An event to examine the impact of infrastructure on equity.

Hear from Replica General Counsel Kiran Jain about one of the most powerful tools public agencies can use to assess inequities in the built environment—and how Replica, a data platform for the built environment, is working with cities to create more equitable infrastructure.

While we debate infrastructure funding, it's important to ensure that infrastructure projects are necessary, well-design...
08/14/2021
One Iconoclast’s Blunt Message on Transportation Funding

While we debate infrastructure funding, it's important to ensure that infrastructure projects are necessary, well-designed and in the right place. See https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-charles-marohn-transportation-funding.html?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR2uM6yuQAsqOKG0E5nzX8SqAqiaCYu4NoPagX5pHAtxzVsSradYWICSU2s

After advising municipalities on how to construct roads for years, Charles Marohn now believes America needs to stop building new highways. Will his new way of thinking catch on?

Folks in Detroit are waking up to the perverse incentives embedded in the traditional property tax and are coming to und...
05/27/2021
Detroit's property tax system is broken. Could a split rate help fix it?

Folks in Detroit are waking up to the perverse incentives embedded in the traditional property tax and are coming to understand that land value return (implemented via a split-rate property tax) would enhance job creation and affordable housing there.

Detroit is only second to New York City when it comes to overall tax burden, according to some estimates. And when it comes to property taxes, due to the systems of incentives, breaks, Neighborhood Enterprise Zones and other financial tools, it’s very possible a loft downtown with a higher value c...

Has anybody ever tried to move a parcel of land from a high-tax jurisdiction to a low-tax jurisdiction?
03/15/2021
Is it that hard to tax the rich? – RSF

Has anybody ever tried to move a parcel of land from a high-tax jurisdiction to a low-tax jurisdiction?

Is it that hard to tax the rich? February 19, 2021/0 Comments/in Circular Economy, Henry George, Tax /by Matthew Downhour When the public has lost its appetite for the argument that taxing the wealthy is in some way unfair – a claim which, in the midst of a pandemic that has sharply heightened in ...

In 2010, believing that "ethical economics" should not be seen as an oxymoron, I started Just Economics LLC to help comm...
03/07/2021
Just Economics, LLC, a consulting firm, specializes in economic development, sustainability and urban policy, utilizing economic incentives to achieve public policy objectives.

In 2010, believing that "ethical economics" should not be seen as an oxymoron, I started Just Economics LLC to help communities harmonize economic incentives with public policy objectives for job creation, affordable housing, transportation efficiency and sustainable development.

Over the past month, with the help of a web designer, I overhauled my website to create a more contemporary design that would be more helpful for prospective clients. You can find it at https://justeconomicsllc.com/ . Can you take a look and give me some feedback?

With more than 35 years of experience, Just Economics helps communities harmonize economic incentives with public policy objectives to:

An excellent article from Michael Lewyn.  As noted, many people believe that new construction inflates neighborhood hous...
02/21/2021
Left-NIMBYism and COVID-19

An excellent article from Michael Lewyn. As noted, many people believe that new construction inflates neighborhood housing prices. The causality is probably the reverse. In other words, higher land prices in a neighborhood motivate new construction. But land prices are invisible to people walking around a neighborhood. New construction is very visible. So, it's easy to get the causality reversed.

Michael notes that even if increased supply reduces housing prices, this will not help low-income individuals and families. For example, what if the market rate for homes drops from $2,000/month to $1,700? At first glance, it might seem irrelevant to somebody who can only afford a home at $800/month. But, many communities subsidize housing costs based on the difference between what residents can afford and market price. Because of limited funds, communities rarely subsidize everybody who needs it. If the market price drops, communities can subsidize more families with the same funding. So, from this perspective, any drop in the market price of housing does help those who are poor.

The events of the past year shows that the law of supply and demand applies to urban housing, and that gentrification can, in fact, be subdued.

In the 1990s, when I was working for the Honorable Hilda Mason on the Council of the District of Columbia, I drafted the...
01/16/2021
Why parking should pay its way instead of getting a free ride

In the 1990s, when I was working for the Honorable Hilda Mason on the Council of the District of Columbia, I drafted the "Clean Air Compliance Fee Act of 1994" that was enacted by the Council but later repealed by Congress in 1997 due to its ability to override local legislation. This article, about proposed parking fees in Hartford, is a source of important information about how subsidies for parking are ruining our environment and the economic vitality of our communities. If you are interested in the Clean Air Compliance Fee Act, you can see a copy at https://code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/laws/docs/10-242.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1QU2L4wghXa02iOQjH_Gt4rlyt7kUw_vkFuN0EY7ENCxSceF1dhDdE1aI .

Hartford Connecticut considers a pioneering move to make parking pay its way A higher parking tax works much like a “lite” version of land value taxation (LVT) Surface parking lots are …

As usual, Todd Litman is on point when he notes that most of us abhor homelessness for people.  Yet we tolerate it.  On ...
01/15/2021
Housing First; Cars Last

As usual, Todd Litman is on point when he notes that most of us abhor homelessness for people. Yet we tolerate it. On the other hand, we legally prohibit homelessness for cars. Zoning and other development regulations mandate multiple homes for cars -- at home, at work, at the shopping center, schools, etc. And Mr. Litman offers proven techniques for balancing parking needs with needs for affordable housing and economic development.

Underutilized parking lots are a costly waste. By managing parking more efficiently, cities can free up land to house people rather than cars.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY – WITHOUT NEW SPENDING OR REVENUE LOSSESDoes Your Community Need to Induce Economic Recovery Without:·...
01/04/2021
Prosperity, Sustainability & Equity | Environment & Energy Management Institute (EEMI) | The George Washington University

ECONOMIC RECOVERY – WITHOUT NEW SPENDING OR REVENUE LOSSES

Does Your Community Need to Induce Economic Recovery Without:
· New Spending?
· New Subsidies or Revenue Losses?
If “Yes,” then this course is for you!

Today, perverse economic Incentives:
· Reduce Job Growth
· Impede Business Efficiency and Profitability
· Inflate Housing Prices

Learn to Harmonize Economic Incentives with Policy Objectives for
· Job Growth
· Affordable Housing
· Compact, Sustainable Development
· Local Government Efficiency & Solvency

On January 12, 2021, the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science is offering a one-day course about how different infrastructure funding mechanisms can impact long-term infrastructure sustainability, efficiency and equity. For more information and registration, see https://eemi.seas.gwu.edu/prosperity-sustainability-equity

NOTE: The course will be recorded. If you register, you will have access to the course when it's convenient for you.

#economicrecovery #economicdevelopment #sustainabledevelopment #localgovernment #sustainability #climatechange #affordablehousing #urbanplanning #infrastructure #housing #transit #jobcreation #equity #ethicaleconomics #environment

More jobs and more affordable housing are top social goals. There is also a desire to remedy traffic congestion, environmental damage and the budget strain associated with wasteful and expensive infrastructure duplication associated with urban sprawl. This short course examines solutions to common e...

PROSPERITY, SUSTAINABILITY & EQUITYI'm teaching a one-day course on January 12th, sponsored by George Washington Univers...
11/21/2020
Prosperity, Sustainability & Equity | Environment & Energy Management Institute (EEMI) | The George Washington University

PROSPERITY, SUSTAINABILITY & EQUITY

I'm teaching a one-day course on January 12th, sponsored by George Washington University, on how state and local governments can promote prosperity, sustainability and equity. For course details, see https://eemi.seas.gwu.edu/prosperity-sustainability-equity .

More jobs and more affordable housing are top social goals. There is also a desire to remedy traffic congestion, environmental damage and the budget strain associated with wasteful and expensive infrastructure duplication associated with urban sprawl. This short course examines solutions to common e...

Chuck Marohn and Joe Minicozzi deserve praise for unlocking this wisdom about healthy cities and towns. Today, cities an...
10/12/2020
The Numbers Don't Lie — Strong Towns

Chuck Marohn and Joe Minicozzi deserve praise for unlocking this wisdom about healthy cities and towns. Today, cities and towns are characterized in the center by surface parking lots and vacant or under-utilized buildings while big box malls sprout on the fringes where crops should be sprouting instead. We are wasting our town centers and despoiling the countryside. If we want to preserve rural areas for agriculture, conservation and recreation, we need to cure our cities.

But, if "smart growth" is so smart, why is there so much "dumb growth?" Are we stupid? No we're not. But there are powerful economic incentives that encourage sprawl. Fortunately, communities are coming up with remedies to harmonize economic incentives with public policy objectives for job creation, affordable housing and sustainable development. Of the many remedies being employed, some of the most important include:
* Performance-based parking pricing;
* Distance- and congestion-based roadway fees;
* Land value return and recycling; and
* Zoning reform.

Let's not simply be angry or sad about the environmental damage and expensive infrastructure costs associated with sprawl. Let's roll up our sleeves and implement reforms that have proven effective in preserving the environment, creating jobs, reducing housing costs and reducing infrastructure requirements (allowing for lower taxes)!

To have enduring prosperity, a community cannot squander its land; it must develop in ways that are financially productive.

Episode #17 — Sustainable and Just Economic DevelopmentRick Rybeck, attorney and director of Just Economics LLCIn this e...
09/23/2020
Rebooting Capitalism Podcast

Episode #17 — Sustainable and Just Economic Development
Rick Rybeck, attorney and director of Just Economics LLC

In this episode, Jennifer Cantero and Rick Rybeck explore how private money can actually help the community and infrastructure. Rybeck shares some enlightening stories of how private and public money benefitted each other and the community. November is approaching, and Rick’s insights will come in handy when you’re looking over your local ballots.
https://ssfllp.com/rebooting-capitalism-podcast/

What You Will Learn:

What user fees and access fees are and their benefits.
Why “just economics” isn’t an oxymoron.
Why HOW we pay for things is just as important as HOW MUCH we pay.
Why urban sprawl is bad for our pocketbooks.
How Pennsylvania maintained affordable housing by reorienting their property taxes.

Rebooting Capitalism is a podcast that digs into why traditional capitalism is broken and what people are doing to fix it. We hope our guests and topics will inform and inspire others to use business as a force for good.

A well-written article about enhancing job creation and affordable housing in cities.
08/30/2020
Why Minneapolis needs a Land Value Tax

A well-written article about enhancing job creation and affordable housing in cities.

This image shows a mostly undeveloped parking lot, occupying a full block of prime real estate in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Why does this lot remain underdeveloped? The owner of the land c…

Some of the complexities involved in current "Takings" jurisprudence.
08/17/2020
Koontz: Clarity or Calamity? - ppt download

Some of the complexities involved in current "Takings" jurisprudence.

This presentation: Pre-Koontz context Facts of Koontz Supreme Court rulings Critique of Koontz rulings

08/07/2020

POLICE REFORM - FUNDING & STRUCTURE

Some people are aghast at the slogans "Defund the police." or "Abolish the police." These slogans fail to convey the core idea which is that the police are often called to deal with issues of related to mental health or interpersonal relationships. Mental health workers and social workers are better-equipped to deal with these issues, and the notion is to transfer funding from police to other services that are better trained and equipped to deal effectively and safely with the problems.

The article below notes how much time police spend dealing with traffic enforcement and responding to crashes. Reducing sprawl could reduce the need for police to handle these situations, freeing up time and resources to deal with crime.

Labor and Green parties in Europe have been calling for a tax reform whereby taxes on privately-created building values ...
07/25/2020
The case for a land value tax - Young Conservative Network

Labor and Green parties in Europe have been calling for a tax reform whereby taxes on privately-created building values would be reduced and taxes on publicly-created land values would increase. Now the conservatives are joining in. Perhaps we could find this policy option as a first step toward reconciling left and the right.
https://ycnetwork.uk/perspective/the-case-for-a-land-value-tax-tom-spencer/?fbclid=IwAR05afyBglfehy8v-4Mw-OxcLtrkqmy5Dg9eoMdVCd6JYxZ7TwclrbTYjB4

LVT must be a high priority for the next budget, writes Tom

ECONOMIC RECOVERY & COMMUNITY SOLVENCYAre you interested in:* How can communities perform better economically?* How can ...
05/09/2020
Land Value Return and Recycling for Prosperity, Sustainability and Equity – hgsss.org

ECONOMIC RECOVERY & COMMUNITY SOLVENCY

Are you interested in:
* How can communities perform better economically?
* How can communities create more jobs without having the price of housing go through the roof?
* How can communities reduce sprawl to protect the environment, reduce pollution and reduce infrastructure costs?
* How can communities obtain revenue for necessary services without wrecking their economic vitality?
* How can communities become more equitable?
* Is "ethical economics" an oxymoron?

These topics, and more, will be covered in 5 online classes, every Thursday evening beginning on May 21st. To register, see https://www.hgsss.org/land-value-return-and-recycling-for-prosperity-sustainability-and-equity/ .

04/18/2020
www.smartergrowth.net

PARKING BENEFITS GENERALIZED TO OTHER MODES

In many companies, some (or all) employees are offered free parking. But employees who use other transportation modes receive no benefit.

The Council of the District of Columbia recently enacted the Transportation Benefits Equity Act, a bill that requires employers who offer a parking benefit to offer comparable benefits to employees to use other transportation modes to get to work. This is important both in terms of equity and in terms of reducing traffic congestion caused by financial incentives that encourage excessive use of single-occupant vehicles.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth and other transportation advocates deserve the credit for making this happen. A summary of the legislation (and a link to the legislation itself) can be found on their website at https://www.smartergrowth.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ParkingCashOut_DC_Bill-23-148-factsheet-version-4.pdf?emci=d83d109d-0679-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&emdi=cd16ba1c-9d79-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&ceid=126754 .

04/16/2020

During normal times, being a bus driver is one of the toughest jobs in any city. The driver must keep a schedule, collect fares, be a tour guide and care for the safety of people on and around his bus while others drive crazy all around.

Now, with Covid-19, bus drivers, maintenance workers and others are exposed to potentially deadly viruses. I salute the transit workers of America for performing above and beyond the call of duty.

02/23/2020

On March 3rd, at the Louisiana Transportation Conference, I'll be talking about land value return and recycling (LVRR) as a way to fund infrastructure projects while simultaneously integrating these facilities with more compact and efficient land use patterns. LVRR can also help create jobs and make housing more affordable. Afterwards, I'll spend a few days in New Orleans. If anybody would like to meet with me to discuss LVRR in Baton Rouge (March 3 or 4) or in New Orleans (March 5 - 9), please let me know.

Address

1669 Columbia Rd NW, Ste 116
Washington D.C., DC
20009

42 Bus stops here. S2, S4 stops are 1 block away. DC Circulator Bus stops on Columbia Rd at 15th St & at Ontario Rd, NW. Columbia Heights Metro Stop (Green Line) is a 10-minute walk.

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm

Telephone

(202) 439-4176

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Legislative and Regulatory Analysis
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Comments

An excellent summary of the process and consequences of building urban highways.
Roadway pricing, if properly implemented, can improve quality of life, the environment, and the fiscal health of urban areas. But the devil (and the angels) are in the details. LEXUS LANES - One of the first places in the USA to employ High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes conducted a poll. Certainly, affluent people used them more than others. HOWEVER, they were important to some low- and middle-income people as well. For example, you're picking up your kid at day-care. You're stuck in traffic and there's a $20 late fee. It's worth it to pay $5 to use the HOT lane and avoid the $20 late fee. Plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc. spend lots of time going between jobs. With access to HOT lanes, they can get an additional job each day, more than offsetting the cost. REGRESSIVE TAX - Except for air and water, nothing is more essential than food. But food isn't free. We pay for food. We pay more for steak than hamburger. BUT, we provide food stamps for low-income folks. We could do the same for transportation. ALSO, low-income folks depend on transit. Transit buses get stuck in traffic. Slow and unreliable transit can cause workers to lose their jobs. Priced roads can help the poor in at least two ways: First, congestion reduction makes buses quicker and more reliable. Second, some of the toll revenues should be used to operate, maintain and improve transit. BUSINESS COSTS: Roadway prices, paid for deliveries, will be passed through to customers. BUT, lower congestion will reduce delivery times, and this will reduce costs that, in a competitive environment, will also be passed through. INCENTIVES - Some places (e.g. London) use "cordon pricing." Thus, drivers pay a fee to cross a boundary (e.g., into the central business district). Initially, those who don't have any choice, will grumble and pay the fee. But, in the long term, some residents and businesses will avoid the fee by moving away from the center. Thus cordon pricing motivates sprawl -- one of the major causes of auto-dependency and congestion. A BETTER APPROACH is to apply roadway pricing by the mile over the entire length of the priced roadway system. The fee should rise when the roadway is congested and fall when it isn't. To minimize the fee in the short term, drivers will make discretionary trips at off-peak times. In the long-term, people will locate homes and businesses closer to the activities that they engage in regularly. Thus a mileage-based pricing system encourages more compact development, and this promotes walking, cycling and economically viable transit as alternatives to auto dependency.
A good explanation of an often-overlooked approach to resolving the housing crisis and about why so few of us know about it.
Despite some nods toward "smart growth," urban sprawl continues unabated. Transportation costs rise as a result. They are to the economy like friction is to a machine. They wear it down and make it less productive. Sprawl often requires a car trip for each and every activity outside the home. This is very expensive for our pocket books and very damaging to the environment. Achieving a better balance between transportation user fees and access fees can promote more compact development. This would increase transportation options (walking cycling, transit, car-sharing, etc.), reduce household and business transportation costs and enhance the environment. Let me know if you want the details.