Are you having an industrious autumn, or a quiet one? In either case, let's hear what you and the organizations in which you participate have been doing and thinking recently.
Please send in your own reports, news, opinions, to share with other readers. Deadline for the December issue: November 22.
You can always reach the Georgist News at firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
Paul Brandon, Deputy Chief Executive of the Henry George Foundation (UK) and conference organiser reports from London, England:
GROUND BREAKING CONFERENCE PROVES A BIG SUCCESS
Over 130 Delegates, drawn from all parts of the community and three continents, listened to a wide range of speakers in a political environment increasingly open to the idea that land rents would be the best funding mechanism to create a just and equitable society.
Co-organised by the Henry George Foundation and the Land Value Taxation Campaign, the conference debated how 'community created land values' can be used to fund urban regeneration. Post conference feedback has revealed it was a considerable success, with delegates registering high approval ratings and welcoming further events on the topic.
Peter Gibb, Chief Executive of the Henry George Foundation and conference speaker said this week, "Our effort to build bridges to the outside world is paying dividends. The Foundation's message is resonating in more and more areas of public and professional concern. Last week's conference is an excellent example of how the Foundation's work is professionalising - and how it's becoming much more effective. We believe our approach is the way forward for all those who would advocate the application of rent for public purposes."
Dave Wetzel, Vice Chair of Transport for London and conference chair for the day also was upbeat: "The conference was an original approach to the regeneration debate. It was also noticeable during the debates how many leading figures in private and government circles are taking a real interest in land value taxation and the role it could play in the regeneration of the economy. As well as finding the day very useful, many delegates asked for another conference to be held to discuss the issues in more depth".
A report, commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and published by ATIS Real Weatheralls (a leading property consultancy in the UK), concerning the impact of new transport infrastructure on land values, was exclusively revealed to the conference. They will now set up a pilot study in Croydon, South London to assess the impact of the new tram link on the value of land holdings. Jeremy Edge of ATIS Real Weatheralls told the conference that their brief did not extend to piloting or investigating a land tax. However he did recognise that the study could be used to justify a levy to fund infrastructure, such as the London Crossrail project.
One of the highlights of the day was the presence of Sir Joe Dwyer, Chairman of Liverpool Vision and former chief of Wimpey Homes, Ted Gwartney, chief assessor of the city of Bridgeport, and Bob Kiley, Transport Commissioner for London - all speaking in the same session.
Sir Joe Dwyer's speech made the situation in the UK very clear: "There isn't a land scarcity, there's an artificial land scarcity. It's simply a direct result of land speculation and hoarding". He concluded, "Should land value tax be introduced into the UK, then in terms of impact there is no greater example than the UK housing market, with huge benefits in releasing the housing market from the grip of the high inflationary aspects of land speculation and hoarding".
Bob Kiley is a supporter of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF). Based on his experience in the US he considers TIF a suitable mechanism to capture land value increases in London. He concluded, "Full land value taxation may not happen in the near term ... but we may have an opportunity here to take an important step forward toward that goal through some variation on the tax increment financing scheme and in so doing we will have made a crucial investment in the future of London".
Earlier in the day the conference heard from a number of supporters of our work. Dr Tim Jenkins, Research Co-ordinator from Friends of The Earth, the UK's leading environmental campaign group and Darren Johnston former Green Party London Mayoral Candidate, both made the case for environmental tax reform through the use of land value taxation.
Don Riley, author of 'Taken For A Ride' and property developer, also presented his ideas on capturing land values. In his book he argues the £3.5 billion cost of the Jubilee Line Extension to London's Tube could easily have been paid for via some fiscal claw back mechanism, based on the benefits landowners had received. Don's solution, as he made very clear to delegates, was not a tax but an Infrastructure Renewal Levy (IRL).
Tony Vickers gave his personal perspective, based on his experience of working in Liverpool on the Smart Tax/LVT project. Speaking after the conference he said "This conference did a great deal to improve the understanding of leaders of the property industry that LVT is pro-development, pro-enterprise".
The final session, chaired by author Antonia Swinson, featured Peter Gibb, and David Mills of the Land Value Taxation Campaign. As you would expect, both speakers backed calls for the policy of land rents as public revenue.
Other speakers on the day included David Lock, Chair of Town and Country Planning Association who strongly welcomed the staging on the event, Joyce Mamode of London Buses, Dr Roy Douglas of Surrey University and Henry Law a Conservation Planner.
A transcript of the day's proceedings and papers will be available from the Henry George Foundation in the next few weeks. If readers would like a copy or more details about the conference (biographies of speakers, programme, etc.) please contact Paul Brandon at email@example.com
Many of us have read "From Wasteland to Promised Land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World," by Robert V. Andelson and James M. Dawsey.
Now the book has been translated into Spanish and will light the fires of true reform in Central and South America, where the empty promises of Marxism and corporate capitalism have brought so much suffering. The Spanish edition of "From Wasteland to Promised Land" will illustrate sharply the "how" and "why" of widespread poverty and privileged concentrations of wealth.
Paul Martin of the Instituto Henry George in Nicaragua has arranged for a book tour for one of the authors, Reverend Dawsey. The Nicaragua tour is scheduled for November 27-December 1.
"From Wasteland to Promised Land" can be ordered from the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. The RSF catalog is online at www.schalkenbach.org/books or telephone 212-683-6424. Be sure to specify the English edition or the forthcoming Spanish edition.
Fred Foldvary has published a chapter on "Site-Value Taxation and the Rule of Law" in the new book "Politics, Taxation, and the Rule of Law: The Power to Tax in Constitutional Perspective."
Edited by Donald Rachter and Richard Wagner, the book is published by Kluwer Academic Publishers.
If you ask your librarian to order it, the ISBN number is 1-4020-7154-X
Foldvary's chapter describes site-value taxation, its effects compared to other taxes, and its relationship to the rule of law.
Other chapters in the book include excise taxation, the growth of tax complexity, and environmental taxation. Index entries include Henry George, Mason Gaffney, Nic Tideman, Kris Feder, Fred Harrison, single tax, rent, and land.
GN Comments: Thanks to Fred Foldvary for providing the above announcement.
In the August issue of the Georgist News, we shared a challenge from Claude Arnold concerning a simple Rent Formula to properly distinguish among the value, price, and rent of land. The September issue included a number of replies to Claude's challenge. (You can find these items at www.georgist.com in the Georgist News Archive.)
I also received a reply from Ole Lefmann but failed to include it. My mistake. To continue the discussion, here is Lefmann's response in full:
What in fact happens when rent is publicly collected is that the PRICE of land tends to decline whereas the value of land and the rent of land remains untouched. (Another thing, not to forget, is that the implementation of the LVT-proposal should better the economics in the society, which tends to increase the price of land as well as the value of land, and the rent of land.)
The price of land is based on the values of advantages that the owner is able to extract from the site or its neighbourhood, the sum of which is the rent that, by capitalisation, gives us the cash price.
However, we do not need to make this calculation, and we do not need the cash price. It is possible and much easier to assess what a sensible buyer/owner/tenant will pay annually for taking over or keep the right to exclusive use of the site in question. This assessment gives us directly the rent and is less complicated than the assessment of the rent via the price of land. All advertisements of renting houses, flats, cars, boats, etc. periodically indicate payments; also land can be assessed in that way.
By doing so you will avoid all the problems described in the "Georgist News" of 1 August 2002, and many more as well.
I hope that the teachers and promoters of Land Value Taxation would have this in mind in the future; it is extraordinarily important!
GN Comments: We also received a further comment from Mason Gaffney, concerning Nic Tideman's response to Claude Arnold's challenge. Here is Dr. Gaffney's comment:
The Village typically bought at about $16k (remember this was 1962, in a high tax state) and sold for about $9k, absorbing a loss. They figured they got a high return on the investment in the form of higher future taxes, both from the individual parcels, and the enhanced value of neighboring ones.
It was a good program - not a sterile "land-banking" program. They resold the lots fast, at the market, and got lots of good new housing, and enhanced neighborhoods.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2002, a special gathering will tackle the topic of "Vacant Property in Pennsylvania Cities and Towns: Creating a Strategy for 2003."
This conference will take place at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel & Convention Center, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and is sponsored by the Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and the group 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.
For more information, telephone 10,000 Friends at (877) 568-2225.
In the October issue, Ed Dodson asked for people's impressions of the commercial real estate market in their region. Here are two responses.
One from Jeff Smith:
Even though nailing the timing down perfectly is hard, some of us do
it well enough to make a living at it. Aussie Phil Anderson does,
charging subscribers to his newsletter, Indicator, and attendees to
his courses for his knowledge of, and predictions based on, cycles -
from Juglar's to Kondratieff's and beyond with Homer Hoyt's in
between. Because more of the paying and voting public want to know
what's likely to happen more than know how economies work and how
they could work better, Phil and I are teaming up to organize a North
American tour, based on his successful Australian approach. The tour
is set for next spring. To help out - seed money, finding venues,
publicity, inviting potential attendees - please get in touch.
Jeffery J. Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
And one from Michael Hudson:
Just three weeks or so ago the Financial Times had a big report (I think on its Saturday/Sunday paper) on how this is happening in Britain. People are moving out of the stock market into property - so much so that once they have bought a building, they then rush around for tenants. A byproduct of this speculative activity is to throw a lot of space on the market. In fact, London's commercial property market right now is even more tenuous than New York's, largely because advertising is way, way down and firms are being downsized.
Small investors are still able to make about 20 percent annually on our rental properties, but that's become an exception now. Last spring, walking through Mayfair, every block had major houses for sale. Someone could have put together a 20 million pound package easily. But I suspect the properties are still on the market.
The small studio I bought two years ago for 106,000 pounds is now about 40,000 pounds higher. So the small-scale real estate is doing quite well; it's the big-scale "investment projects" that are faltering.
Fairhope Single Tax Corp., the oldest Henry George oriented organization in the United States, recently pledged to the Thomas Hospital of Fairhope, Alabama, the sum of $500,000 for construction of a new wing.
That's right: half a million dollars. This money came from the collection of ground rent. The FSTC has also pledged $40,000 to Mercy Medical's Alzheimer wing, a care facility in the nearby community of Daphne.
This should prove something to somebody, somewhere. It should at least indicate that Fairhope Single Tax Corporation is NOT suffering from fatal corporate mismanagement.
GN Comments: Thanks to Claude Arnold for providing the above announcement.
by Hanno Beck
Is it just me, or have you noticed an increase in the quality of Georgist periodicals recently? I don't know when I have enjoyed thorough, insightful and important articles so regularly. Here are three examples of Georgist periodicals that have recently shown great strength:
This list could easily be extended to include many other Georgist periodicals that accomplish challenging journalistic tasks, with quality.
"Water Security in the 21st Century" will be held on July 30-August 1, 2003 in Washington, D.C. The goal is to bring together academics, federal and state agency experts, and other professionals to:
If you hurry, you may still be able to get onto the program to deliver a paper or run a workshop. Contact Margaret Skerly, Universities Council on Water Resources, 4543 Faner Hall, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, or email email@example.com
A new poll in Ontario, Canada, shows the Green Party (GPO) gaining strength. The party does not yet attract as much support as its three larger competitors, but the momentum is clearly pro-Green. Some of this new success is undoubtedly attributable to the GPO's Georgist economic program, which offers voters a fresh and just alternative to the unsustainable mainstream economics of the past.
For full poll results, visit: www.ipsos-reid.com/media/dsp_displaypr_cdn.cfm?id_to_view=1653
GN Comments: Thanks to Bruno Moser of the Philadelphia Comptroller's Office for sending this. Let's help this new journal become familiar with the Georgist economic paradigm. Here is their announcement:
A New Journal Devoted to Research and Practice in Economic Development
The journal welcomes articles from researchers, practitioners and consultants applying innovative tools or methods to common economic development problems, or applying traditional tools to new development challenges.
If you are interested in submitting an article, or for further information, contact Phyllis Isley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Four steps to achievement: plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully,
proceed positively, pursue persistently.
- William A. Ward
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
- Vincent van Gogh
Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn
around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or
work around it.
- Michael Jordan
The Georgist News on the WWW - http://www.georgist.com/