> From GN Correspondent, Dan Sullivan -
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has just passed statewide Georgist reform by a vote of 198-2!
This bill, which would allow the state's Boroughs (towns) to tax land at a higher rate and buildings at a lower rate, was introduced by Terry Punt, Senator for the Borough of Chambersburg, at the request of his long-time constituent, Alanna Hartzok, United Nations NGO Representative for the International Union for Land Value Taxation and State Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Fair Tax Coalition. It passed the Senate by a whopping 50-0, but has long languished in the House until, suddenly, for reasons yet to be determined, Representative Perzell, who controls the Pa. House docket, decided to release it for voting.
All that now remains for this bill to become law is the signature of the Governor, Tom Ridge ... !
Similar legislation regarding cities has existed in Pennsylvania for several decades and due in large part to the efforts of Steve Cord, Josh Vincent and Hanno Beck working with the Center for the Study of Economics, as well many other Georgist organizations and individuals, many Pennsylvania cities have made use of that law, allowing the development of their downtown areas, job growth, wage increases and a reduction of urban sprawl.
The quest to obtain this vital option for Boroughs of the Keystone State, however, has eluded the Georgist Movement. Through many years of lobbying, educating and political defeat, often at the precipice of almost certain victory, stalwart proponents of economic justice and ecological conservation have struggled bravely to elevate, with the Borough bill, Pennsylvania's status as one of the world's leading examples of the efficacy of Georgist reform. But never have we been this close!
Pennsylvania Fair Tax Coalition:
International Union for LVT:
Center for the Study of Economics:
Pennsylvania land tax supporter and fighter, Pat Toomey, won his race for Congress in the 15th House District, which includes Allentown. That city, of course, once a paragon of urban decline, is now, thanks to the land tax and the Center for the Study of Economics, which assisted its institution, experiencing a marked resurgence.
As further evidence of Georgism's widespread appeal, two Democrats, Ben Howells and Dennis Cramsey stuck their necks out to support Toomey, a Republican. Their sacrifice should be noted and supported by all Georgists.
Unfortunately, Harold Kyriazi, despite some help from Georgist, Dan Sullivan, and an endorsement from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, was unable to capture Pennsylvania's 38th District Senate Seat from 20-year incumbent, Leonard Bodack, the State Minority Whip.
On Monday, Nov. 9, New Jersey legislators heard the introduction of a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Arnone, that would classify property into land and buildings for purposes of taxation. It provides two ways for taxing districts to shift the tax from buildings to land: the referendum or the city ordinance process.
Among those testifying in favor were: Hon. James Whelan, Mayor of Atlantic City, the New Jersey Builder's Association, New Jersey League of Cities, Center for the Study of Economics, and the Sierra Club.
Whelan called it "a simple issue for urban communities," saying, "We reward speculators ... and we punish the developer, someone who comes along and develops his property, by raising his taxes. This proposed change discourages land speculation."
Mention was also made of the 1972 Cahill Commission on Property Taxes, with which many long-time Georgists were involved. Their struggle lives on in this new effort.
In the early 1980s, several Newark officials, especially Council President, Henry Martinez, agitated for this reform, having visited Pittsburgh, where it has been in use since 1913. Mr. Martinez, now retired, is being asked to assist in lobbying for Arnone's bill. Another current Assemblyman, Daniel Tucker, was among the councilmen who made that visit with Martinez.
Historically notable is that former New Jersey Governor, Woodrow Wilson was deeply influenced by famous land tax advocate, George L. Record, who got railroad lands revalued, cutting their power to pour money into elections. Record also pioneered progressive electoral reforms in New Jersey, swaying W. J. Bryan to support Wilson for President in 1912. As President, Wilson appointed several Georgists to his administration, and worked with Georgist congressmen, including Henry George, Jr.
Also on Nov. 9, the World Bank began an on-line conference on "Land, Real Estate and the Economy." It will continue through Dec. 16 bringing together "some of the world's leading academics and researchers concerned with the role of land and real estate in the economy." Obviously, Georgists are cordially invited!
This may be especially true since, currently, World Bank is "reformulating its approach to real estate, and wants to benefit from the best academic and professional thinking on the subject." This seems an opportunity to influence the global community regarding the many benefits of Georgist reform, for people, economies and ecosystems.
An intriguing excerpt: "The recently formed Land and Real Estate Initiative ... has a broad agenda. ... its main concern is how to realize the full benefits of land and real estate assets-that is, real property-to the economy, and how to extend these benefits to the poor.
"This on-line conference addresses the following question: Why should policy makers and economists working on reducing poverty, promoting growth, and building capital markets be concerned with land and real estate assets?"
So, as you can see, there is an important and urgent need for us to participate as fully as possible. Interested Georgists should send an e-mail with a blank "subject" section and SUBSCRIBE LANDECON in the body of the message to: Majordomo@jazz.worldbank.org
The Development Forum, a discussion space on the World Bank's web site, will provide access to the LANDECON archives as well as related material and presentations. The address is: http://www.worldbank.org/devforum
Of special interest to Georgists was a session entitled "Site Value Taxation: Is the Time Right?" According to reports, one of the speakers, Robert Schwab, and one of the commentators, Walt Rybeck, had all the right things to say. Chairing the session, however, was Michael Bell of John Hopkins University, who, along with John Bowman of Virginia Commonwealth University, submitted a paper disparaging the idea.
Bowman is remembered by some in our movement for his involvement, 8 years ago, with Maryland's infamous Linowes Commission, a study paid with public revenue, to review that state's tax system and make exciting modernization recommendations. $3 million and 18 months later, proposals were not Georgist.
The paper belittling site-value taxation submitted by Bell and Bowman was prepared using data gathered in Johannesburg, RSA, which, according to them, has not fared well under the site-value tax system. To Georgists, this seems an odd conclusion since Johannesburg is known for being among the cities with the fastest site turnover rates in the world.
Of relevance may be that Bell's and Bowman's research there was funded by The Lincoln Institute. That group, as reported in GN # 10, is expected to be sued by several Arizona Georgists, in association with numerous Georgist organizations, for actively fighting the progress of the Georgist Movement around the world, using hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked by late founder, John C. Lincoln, to promote, not decry Georgist reform.
(See the related item in EARLY WARNINGS below.)
Possibly the most George-friendly economics dictionary ever, it contains terms used in classical liberal thought as well as in economics, including many terms used in Georgist and Geoist thought that have likely not been in any dictionaries previously, such as the "Gaffney" effect, the "Brown" effect (as in Harry Gunnison Brown), "Geonomics" (Jeff Smith credited) and even the "cat"!
Included are biographical sketches of present and past key Georgist economists and George, himself, is among the six economists who appear on the cover.
The retail price is set at $95.00, but Amazon Online lists it for $85.00. The possibility also exists that it will eventually find its way into the Schalkenbach catalog. Please request that your local library get this book.
Its reference number from the publisher is: ISBN 1 85898 432 7
Edward Elgar Publishing: http://www.e-elgar.co.uk
Amazon Online: http://www.amazon.com
The Progress Report: http://www.progress.org
Robert Schalkenbach Foundation: http://www.progress.org/books
Mr. Beck admits a few bugs must still be worked out, but GN testing has, so far, found it very fast, helpful and easy to use. "Ask Henry" should make Georgist research easier than ever. The addition of this new tool may prove a milestone in Georgist communications and its creation seems a stroke of brilliance by Hanno Beck in the expansion of the Georgist Internet presence.
Just Ask Henry!: http://www.askhenry.com
Some of the subjects most extensively covered there include, of course, land value taxation, as well as the former Soviet Union and principles of justice and morality.
It's certain you'll find these works fascinating and useful:
"I had the pleasure of representing the Henry George School of Social Science on the Philadelphia-PBS radio program 'Radio Times' last week. During this hour-long program, I was asked to comment on the so-called "Third Way" proposals that Tony Blair's New Labour and Bill Clinton's New Democrats are suggesting are what is needed to make social democracy work (i.e., finally provide the greatest good for the greatest number). Relying on the insights of Henry George, I explained the shortcomings of "Third Way" thinking and outlined the public policy solutions that will work."
Prof. Dodson has also significantly updated his already vast web site recently, the School of Cooperative Individualism. One developing feature there is his "Search Engine on Political Economy," as the School's database library expands and the number of direct links to papers stored at other sites increases.
Another terrific and unique feature he has now begun is a set of biographical sketches of economists, philosophers and others, complete with photographs or portraits he can locate. "Who are the most difficult persons to find existing material on?" he asks and answers, "Why, 'Georgist' writers, of course." Even more difficult to locate, he explains, are image files thereof.
(See the related item in SUPPLICATIONS below.)
Edward Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
The School of Cooperative Individualism:
It contains news of progress in the Earth Trustee Movement and Earth Trustees everywhere are invited to report on their ideas and activities to: email@example.com
Mr. McConnell has also finally established on his web site, a list of Official Earth Trustee Sites, which, naturally, includes several Georgist web sites. Being a new project, not all have yet been listed, but, as they are, networking among land reform activists is sure to be greatly enhanced.
To make yours an "Official Earth Trustee Site," place the logo on your site (available from The Georgist News at: GNSreport@aolcom and send an e-mail containing its URL and a brief description of its content to:
Mr. McConnell at: TrusteeOne@aol.com
You may also phone him at: (718) 366-6963
The Earth Day Web Site: http://www.earthsite.org
Expansion of the Earth Day 1999 World-Wide Concert event in collaboration with "Rockin' for Freedom," Artists Against Racism and others is further evident in the recent addition of references to these efforts at the web sites of GlobaLink TV and Global Meditations.
As reported in GN #10, it is expected that several Arizona Georgists will very soon bring a lawsuit against the Lincoln Land Foundation (LLF) founded by the late industrialist John C. Lincoln to promote Georgist reform, since it seems clear to many, including the plethora of Georgist organizations which have joined plaintiffs, that Foundation's assets have been directed to thwart, rather than assist the Georgist Movement.
Here are further details on this anticipated litigation:
Plaintiffs are expected to assert that the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP), an arm of the LLF, distributed to Japanese political leaders, a document in 1997 by one of its residents, Koichi Mera, entitled "A Failed Land Policy, a Story From Japan" and that this paper clearly endorses land speculation, calling Japan's extremely high land prices a "national treasure." It is also said the paper claims that polling demonstrated public opposition to land value taxation. Japan's ruling Liberal Democrats later proposed a repeal of the already minute land tax there.
While it may be that the help of the US Library of Congress or the New York Public Library could be enlisted in this pursuit, one way or another it is likely this clearly important project will soon be undertaken. Reliable sources suggest the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation may already be moving on this.
An exciting benefit to such preservation is that these materials could also become far more accessible to the public, either in some physical form or via the Internet.
Other periodicals of a similar nature are early runs of "The Freeman," "Land and Freedom" and "The Public," which was referenced in GN # 10. Here is an advertisement for "The Landlord's Game," the board game which ultimately became "Monopoly," from the May 12, 1906, issue of "The Public." This has been provided courtesy of journalist, Internet professional and history enthusiast, Jim Zwick.
Ad for "The Landlord's Game":
History of the game, Monopoly:
Jim Zwick's Home Page: http://home.ican.net/~fjzwick
The election of Jesse Ventura, candidate of the previously discounted Reform Party, to the Governor's chair in Minnesota, has sparked an effort by some of that state's Georgists to provide meaningful direction to the yet indistinct path potential changes might 'venture.'
Many readers may recall another brush with greatness by Minnesotans not long ago, when they had a chance to elect as their Governor, gracious Georgist sage, John Burger. Luckily for them, however, Mr. Burger is anything but 'out of the picture.' As well, his years of leadership have produced an expansive network of understanding legislators and others who, in association with newly energized activists, may provide the groundwork for a significant Georgist ascendance in Minnesota.
Scott Kroyer, webmaster of The Georgist News, is among those coordinating plans for this hopeful endeavor. In addition to help from regional sympathizers, he is gaining valuable insights into the nature and history of Georgist political agitation from life-long students of the cause and Georgist political theoreticians.
Trepidation regarding how the popular new Governor will react to this drive seems the lodestone around which action is being designed. Kroyer, though, is doing his best to make use of the advice he is getting from Georgist elders and is taking care to balance his enthusiasm with their wisdom and local counsel.
If you'd like to help, contact Scott Kroyer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, December 3, at the "Empire Korea," (address: 6 E. 32nd St.—between Fifth & Madison Ave.s) in New York City, many Georgists, their friends and colleagues will be celebrating a number of significant happenings in the life of beloved Georgist compatriot and educator, George Collins. He has recently retired as Director of The New York Henry George School of Social Science, his birthday is Dec. 10, he'll be getting married this coming Valentine's Day and since he'll be moving to Seattle, Dec. 15, this party is expected to be a singularly memorable blowout of epic proportion!
Cover is $29.00 per person before Nov. 30 ($35.00 at the door) and includes a multi-course dinner (hors d'oeuvres, dessert, etc.), plates and plates of luscious Chinese and Korean dishes (seafood, chicken, beef, vegetarian, etc.), nonalcoholic drinks, tax, gratuity and even karaoke, later in the evening. A 'Cash Bar' will open at 5:30 PM and dinner will begin at 6:30 PM. Free parking is available after 5:00 PM at 6 E. 33rd St. If you'd like to attend, mail a check payable to Robin Robertson, by Nov 30, to:
350 Fifth Ave, #3304
New York City 10118
> From GN Correspondent, Mary Rose Kaczorowski -
Please, join the growing effort to influence the Fisher family, owners of "The Gap," "Old Navy" and "Banana Republic" clothing stores, to stop cutting down the redwoods in Mendocino County, California.
All Georgists are urged to boycott products from these stores until further notice, to add your names to the petition that will be submitted to the Fisher family, to participate in the rallies on Nov. 27 being planned around the world and to help spread the word about this effort.
An increasing number of environmental groups, including Sierra Club California are signing on and helping to organize this protest. Even the "Lindy Hop Dancers," who star in the Gap's most popular TV commercial, will be dancing to protest the Gap at 12 noon at Union Square in San Francisco, Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 27), which, traditionally, is the biggest shopping day of the year.
Many local Sierra Club chapters are urging the national Sierra Club to officially support this effort, but it isn't yet clear they will. National SC leaders have been accused by local affiliates, of compromising principles for political clout, their hesitancy in the "Gap" matter, fueling this fear.
Sierra Club Mutiny: http://www.motherjones.com/news_wire/sierra.html
Fisher Redwoods: http://www.sfbg.com/News/33/01/OnGuard/index.html#muir
Sign the Petition: http://www.elksoft.com/petition
East Coast contact, Paolo Lanna (212-358-3858): LindyLand@aol.com
West Coast contact, Mary Bull (415-731-7924): email@example.com
Mary Rose Kaczorowski: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please, strongly consider sending them a tax-deductible contribution so they can increase their support for the growing number of worthy projects they need to assist.
You might also send them the names and addresses of other potential donors and/or book-buyers. If nothing else, choose some fine works from their catalog! Focusing our energy into such effective and scrupulous organizations as Schalkenbach could make the difference for our world.
The hope is that they will be able to increase their budget for the coming year, so, please respond by Thanksgiving.
Thank you very much.
The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
149 Madison Avenue, #601
New York, NY 10016-6713
RSF web site: http://www.progress.org/books
He has compiled, from every state in the US, data that would be useful for LVT studies and comparisons. Each state's information comprises around 2-3 pages and what Mr. Batt would like is if US residents could take a look at that data for their state and submit comments, whether the information seems accurate to them and suggest what more he might want to investigate.
If you would like to help, Mr. Batt will also ask you to place a telephone call to your local assessor's office and ask a few key questions. Once complete, the results of this study are expected to facilitate a variety of research helpful in further proving the case for Georgist economic theory. Mr. Batt looks forward to hearing from you soon.
PO Box 4112
Albany, New York 12204-0112
David Giesen of San Francisco, is a credentialed California teacher who is interested in working with other Georgists to design and operate a summer camp for children. The twist is that embedded in the activities will be the Georgist philosophy that equality of opportunity is preliminary to systemic happiness.
This camp will be open to all families, not just card-carrying Georgist ones. In fact, the idea is to operate a camp that is so fun (and educational) that our curriculum is copied by others. Crafts, skills, nature-lore, athletics, small doses of social philosophy, the usual camp fare— but all with, as it were, a Georgist pat on the back.
This is a business venture, as well, so contacts should be prepared to talk business plans, management and recruitment.
Are you excited by the camp experience and desirous of having a splendiferous opportunity to share the Georgist perspective? Contact David by mail, phone or e-mail!
PO Box 420664
San Francisco, CA 94142
The School's webmaster, Ed Dodson, also needs photos or portraits and bios of other Georgist and relevant economists and historical figures for his site's new gallery. He will appreciate any leads you might have.
Edward Dodson: email@example.com
The School of Cooperative Individualism:
This newsletter is available in a variety of formats!
Feel free to request a personal custom format that will make The Georgist News most useful and enjoyable for your needs! Despite our hundreds of recipients, it's often a simple matter for us to accommodate such requests and we are happy to do so! Please, send us an e-mail with your preference requests to: GNSreport@aol.com
"I want to Thank You for your Earth Trustee News. I find it compelling and informative." - Jill H. Remington
"We really enjoy reading the newsletter and appreciate the work you have contributed to its success." - Ted Gwartney
"Thank you for the Georgist News, which continues to be fascinating and relevant." - Caspar Davis
"Your newsletter is read. Thanks." - Tom McKay
"...I think your idea of a news service is a good one, and could probably be done by email these days." - Jim Zwick
" ... thank you very much for doing ... the Georgist News Service. An excellent idea ... brought into life really in time. There is very high objective demand for our ideas in the world community now. My best and sincere wishes of success to you and to the Georgist News Service." - Tatiana Roskoshnaya
You are all quite welcome!
The Georgist "News" (the newsletter you are reading right now) is, of course, not the same thing as The Georgist News "Service," which is a project under construction that will package articles and statistics produced by Georgist journalists and organizations, for mainstream and alternative journalists and their publications. The news service will attempt to influence the public at large by disseminating and cultivating the Georgist perspective.
This newsletter, on the other hand, seeks to strengthen the Georgist Movement from within by encouraging, facilitating and maintaining Inter-Georgist networking— communication, collaboration and the rapid distribution of significant news and helpful new tools for our members. Naturally, the two projects will be of mutual assistance.
The news service project, unfortunately, is not yet quite on its feet. I apologize for that. I agree that its institution could be extremely helpful. Please, keep in mind, though, that it is a much more involved, demanding and high pressure initiative and that it will require far more advance preparation than did the electronic newsletter I've started.
Take heart in this good news on that front: Caspar Davis has responded to my supplication for assistance writing the newsletter! Thanks, Caspar! (Also, I'm scheduled to be moving soon and I don't want folks to miss anything!)
This means I'll soon be able to spend more time with The Georgist News Service project! Also remember that once the preparatory work is done for GNS, the flow of Georgist material to media agents will be massive, continuous and is certain to build and build in momentum and effect!
As always, please, keep the rest of the Georgist Movement up to date via The Georgist News, on your organization's recent and upcoming activities and/or Georgist-related concerns from your part of the world. Your participation is what makes all of this possible!
Adam Jon Monroe, Jr.
Editor, The Georgist News