Business Reasons for Ferguson’s Rage

Just published in The Atlantic : Fergusons Fortune 500 Company : Why the Missouri city — despite hosting a multinational corporation, Emerson Electric, — relied on municipal fees and fines to extract money from its poorest residents.

The U.S. Department of Justice report revealed how the police and court policies affected blacks in Ferguson, and here is the expose’ of how state and local taxation laws are also culpable.

An excerpt: Ferguson extracts more revenue from African American renters seeking to heat their homes in the winter, light them after dark, and talk on their cell phones than it does from those who own the homes themselves. Taken together, these regressive taxes account for almost 60 percent of the city’s revenue. In contrast, property taxes—which are, at least in theory, progressive taxes—account for just under 12 percent. The vast wealth of the city, scarcely taxed at all, is locked up in property that African Americans were prevented from buying for most of its history.

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