This month we are bringing you a varied mix of articles and pointers to other resources. As always, I rely on your feedback to keep our focus most useful for you; if you would like to see more coverage of some topics, and less of others, let's hear about it.
Please remember that your own reports, remarks, and rejoinders are always very welcome. Deadline for the May issue: April 20.
You can always reach the Georgist News at email@example.com
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
For a look at Smith's comments and notes from the event, as well as other events clustered around the United Nations gathering, see this recent article from The Progress Report: http://www.progress.org/unconf01.htm
One of the highlights mentioned by Smith is his discovery of a German organization that seems to be thinking along Georgist lines. That group, the German Advisory Council on Global Change, has released a report that is available in English, called "Charging the Use of Global Commons." You can find this report on the World Wide Web at: http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2002_engl.pdf
According to the author of a paper in the current issue of the International Property Tax Institute, the General Secretary of Germany's ruling Social Democrat Party (SPD) is a supporter of LVT (land value taxation).
Writing in the Spring issue of Land & Liberty, Kathrin Renner says That she has spoken to Dr Rudolf Josten, author of Land Value Rating: A Possibility to Reform the German Property Rates (in the International Journal of Property Tax Assessment and Adminstration Vol.6 No.1) and learned that his research was supported by Franz Müntefering when he was Federal Minister of Transport, Construction and Housing 1998-2000.
Unfortunately for us, Franz Müntefering was appointed to a non-governmental post in his Party last year. Josten believes that nothing will come of his research findings - which called for terribly old property tax assessments to be replaced by land-only valuation and taxation for local government throughout Germany - until after Federal elections later this year. But Georgists might like to contact Müntefering after reading Kathrin's article and/or the full research paper in IPTI's journal. His addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com He is still a member of the Bundestag.
The research was linked to an official study in the Ministry: "Land-value Oriented Property Tax" by researcher Michael Lehmbrock, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry's Institute of Urban Affairs (DIFU) has an English language page on its web-site, which is worth a visit: http://www.difu.de/english/occasional/
By the way, IPTI has joined Progressive Forum International and its Canadian Director Jerry Grad wants to explore possible joint ventures with PFI. IPTI is organising a major conference in Hong Kong on property tax reform in August. Half the articles in its journal are on LVT.
GN Comments: Thanks for the great information! Remember, everybody, when you uncover interesting bits of news, to please send them to the Georgist News. You might have found something of enormous help to another reader.
The IHG Managua has just published the results of our semi-scientific study on Real Estate Values in Managua Nicaragua from 1990-2001.
The results of the study are not surprising but are very interesting to see. While the general population has sunk deeper into poverty, unemployment and social distress, real estate (land) values have risen astronomically in the urban and suburban areas of the Nicaraguan capital (as well as other urban centers).
To see the summary of the study, with easy to read graphs, visit our website at http://www.ibw.com.ni/~ihg and follow the links to our "Studies" page.
Valletta and Nosick's article is an in-depth exploration of the treatment of land under Ukraine's Constitution. Against this background, the article assesses the progress and potential of Ukraine's land reform, as well as the significance of the new Land Code, which was adopted in October of 2001 and took effect on January 1, 2002.
Valletta and Nosick's article is available in PDF format at http://www.fao.org/Legal following the links to "Legal > Studies" and then to "Legal Papers Online". For those who have difficulty or wish to avoid downloading long papers from the Web, you may request email or paper copies of the article from the FAO Legal Office, FAO, 00100, Rome, Italy, email@example.com
Cal Skinner, 59, a Crystal Lake resident who spent 16 years serving in the Illinois House before losing in a primary two years ago, is running for Governor. Skinner is running as a Libertarian, because the Libertarian party is committed to supporting a constitutional amendment that would impose limits on how long lawmakers can serve in the top legislative leadership positions. "That's my motivation for running," he said. "Being a gubernatorial candidate will allow me to point out this misuse of power." (according to the Chicago Sun-Times)
But term limits are not likely to be Skinner's only motivation nor his only message. Mr. Skinner has read Progress & Poverty by Henry George, and is a long time subscriber to the newsletter of the Henry George School of Chicago, the Illinois Georgist.
Here's a great website to find research and reach out to others concerned
about smart growth, affordable housing, community, and other economic
KnowledgePlex ( www.knowledgeplex.org ). Some 19 organizations are contributing to this website. It has an excellent search engine, a library of articles, case studies, best practices and journals, you can receive a customized feed of housing news and join interactive communities of interest.
GN Comments: And of course, whenever you communicate with people on the subject of smart growth, or sprawl, etc., please tell them to visit the web site that gives plenty of coverage of the Georgist approach to these matters: the Sprawl Information Center at: http://www.progress.org/sprawl
Are you curious, readers? If one of you would be interested in reviewing this book for the Georgist News, please contact Hanno T. Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Across the country, approximately 450,000 brownfields - vacant and contaminated properties - sit unused in central city and older suburban communities. Georgists know how to get those sites working again, contributing to the community economy. But "brownfields" activists do not know much about the cost-free Georgist approach, and are focusing on expensive government spending programs instead. The opportunity for offering the Georgist approach is here.
To register for this event, contact Janice Clark at the National Neighborhood Coalition, (202) 408-8553 or email@example.com.
Also - we have mentioned this conference before, so here is one final reminder, about the Global Conference on Environmental Taxation, April 12-13, 2002, at the Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, Vermont USA. Register now at: www.vermontlaw.edu/elc/envirotax.cfm or call Janet Milne, Director, Environmental Tax Policy Institute, Vermont Law School at 1.802.763.8303 extension 2266.
Georgists will be there. How about joining them?
The World Bank and IMF will host another round of meetings in Washington D.C. April 20-21. These meetings come in the wake of the crisis in Argentina, where IMF manipulations unraveled into a devastating economic situation for the population. They also come after the collapse of the multinational-corporate-giant Enron - a stunning example of the disproportionate power of corporations, and of how its abuse hurts ordinary people.
The Mobilization for Global Justice calls on activists from around the country to converge in Washington, DC April 19-22 and make your voice heard. Marches and rallies are planned. For more information visit http://www.riseup.net/april2002
The CD includes biographical information on Henry George and the text of most of his writings, along with other materials about the man and his times.
For more information on the CD, consult the Lincoln Institute's website at www.lincolninst.edu
The entire CD packet is available for $50, plus shipping and handling. Discounts are available for libraries and other educational institutions.
For additional information, or to order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1-800-LAND-USE (800-526-3873).
"States and local governments now have a new tool available to help combat urban sprawl, protect farmland, promote affordable housing, and encourage redevelopment. The American Planning Association (APA) is pleased to announce the release of the Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change, 2002 Edition."
What policies are included in the guidebook, and how did they get there? Are there lessons that Georgists can learn from this process? Should there be a Georgist "guidebook" for state and local legislative bodies?
Visit the web site at www.planning.org/newsreleases/2002/ftp021301.htm and follow the links for a free (registration required) copy of the guidebook.
Tony O'Brien died on March 19, 2002. He was Research Coordinator for the Land Values Research Group of Australia.
For some recent autobiographical notes, see: www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/5148/georgists_obrien_tony.html
And for a sample of his recent work, along with a photo, see: http://www.earthsharing.org.au/mnoply.html
On March 16, 2002, Wylie Young passed away. His daughter Wylene reports: "He tenaciously loved life, and let go only because he had no more strength in him left. He had completed seven months toward his 104th birthday."
Wylie Young was a gifted public speaker, and authored the 1976 book Antidote for Madne$$. He was a strong advocate for the two-rate property tax in Pennsylvania cities.
I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant and unexpected
encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as
nearly as possible reaching the high water mark of pure and useful living.
- Booker T. Washington
I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I
can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
- Helen Keller
Made possible in part by funding from interested individuals and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.