As sea level rises, tax base goes down
Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Oct 2022
By the year 2100 more than 1m properties in the US with a combined assessed value exceeding $108bn are projected to be at least partly submerged at high tide, according to a new report from the risk advocacy not-for-profit body Climate Central.
As property owners lose land and buildings, local property tax revenues may be lost too – threatening a primary source of funding for schools and services provided by local governments.
Sea level rise is shifting the high and low tide lines that coastal states use to define boundaries between public and private property. As these boundaries shift, private property will be lost to permanent coastal flooding.
Climate Central president and chief scientist Benjamin Strauss said, “The financial impact of sea level rise extends far beyond coastal property owners. Even inland communities may see funding for public services erode as flooded properties come off county tax rolls.”
By 2050, as many as 4.4m acres are projected to fall below the high tide line in the US. More than 48,000 properties are projected to be entirely below their states’ tidal boundary levels by 2050, with roughly 64,000 buildings at least partially below the high tide line. That projection rises sharply to nearly 300,000 buildings by 2100 as water levels reach land once considered safer to build on.
Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Alice Hill said, “Understanding where and when financial impacts will be most acute can inform action and support at the state and national level, assisting local efforts to maintain critical services and adapt to our changing climate.”
In addition to its peer-reviewed sea level rise modelling and mapping tools, Climate Central used data from Regrid – a land parcel and location context data company that has collected and standardised parcel boundaries and property assessment information across all 50 states in the US. M