Peter Martin is apparently the Canberra Times’ economic editor and has an interesting blog post on the cause of the ACT’s diabolical revenues in this best of all possible times:
But business leases were set up to be a source of continuing revenue. After the first 50 or so years of Canberraâ€™s life, business leases were set to come up for renewal virtually every year. Because the leases were sold and valued in the knowledge that they expired after a period of time, businesses planned in the knowledge that they would have to shell out fresh money to buy new leases when they expired.
But it was easier and far more lucrative for businesses to lobby both sides of the relatively young ACT House of Assembly. Just before Christmas in 1996, both the Liberal and Labor Parties in the House of Assembly voted to convert all commercial leases from 50 years to 99 years, without charge…
Australian National University economist Julie Smith predicted that â€˜present and future ACT citizens [will] pick up the tab â€¦ with either a 13 per cent addition to residential rates, or further cuts to health, education and community services.â€™