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USBIG (the United States Basic Income Guarantee Network) will hold its 2003 meeting in New York City, February 21-23, 2003. The meeting will be held jointly with the Eastern Economics Association's annual meeting. The EEA will handle registration and logistics, and anyone attending the USBIG conference is welcome to attend any of the EEA sessions, but USBIG is entirely autonomous in content, and will continue in its interdisciplinary character.
Scholars, activists, and others are invited to attend, to submit papers, and to organize panels in any discipline. Paper submissions are welcome on any topic relating to the Basic Income Guarantee or the state of poverty and inequality, such as the political economy of BIG; the history of BIG; gender, family, and labor market issues and BIG; empirical issues of BIG and of poverty.
GN Comments: One of the world's top experts on the "basic income" topic is Jeff Smith. View his articles at the Geonomy Society web site at www.geonomics.org or visit the Citizens Dividend web site at www.progress.org/dividend
GN Comments: Joe Casey sends in this additional reply to Ed Dodson's call (in the October Georgist News) for reports on commercial real estate.
A note on the Washington D.C. area suburban commercial office real estate market from Developer Thomson Hirst:
"We can no longer say there are 13 million square feet vacant in the Dulles Corridor. It's now 13.9 million square feet and it's still growing.
"FYI: The vacancy rate is around 35% in Herndon, 23% in Reston, 18% in Loudoun. Plenty of pain for everyone. A healthy market has 3% vacancy; 6% is tolerable; anything over that is a problem. The Dulles Corridor overall has at least a 17% vacancy rate right now.
"Expect very dramatic erosion in the business portion of the local tax base in the next 12 months, probably worsening steadily over the next three to five years. This will be a very severe, protracted downturn. Plan for it, and maybe it can be managed. But do NOT spend money foolishly at a time like this!! Residential taxes will probably notch further upward as the business base collapses. Ouch! ..."
And Joe adds this remark - The Dulles corridor has been heavily hit by the collapse of the dot coms and the telecommunications industries that were concentrated between McLain and Leesburg. D.C. still has only 5% vacancy. The housing market remains a sellers' market.
GN Comments: Here is an announcement from Sue Walton.
P.S. The popular "Georgist Jeopardy" event hopes to make a return engagement. Our Game Show host, Ed Dodson, needs some help however. If you would like to help please contact Ed at: email@example.com
At the CGO conference held last August in London, Ontario, a number of organizations participated in a Strategy Session that included time for organizations to name areas, or priorities, or tasks, with which they would like help.
The various help-items have been reviewed by the CGO and a listing is now available to CGO member organizations and affiliates. We have set up an online bulletin board for discussion, networking, and resolving as many of these items as possible. If you see an item seeking help in an area where you have experience, offer to help! Or add a new plea for help.
We all want a strong movement. Please visit the CGO bulletin board at www.progress.org/cgi-bin/cgoboard/config.pl
Note - To view the bulletin board, you will need a user name and password. You can obtain those simply by asking Sue Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org
GN Comments: Ed Dodson has sent in this interesting finding:
The following comes from an article by Richard W. England in The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's publication Regional Review (Q1 2002) titled, "A New England Approach to Preserving Open Space."
"Another policy that might simultaneously help to revive New England's cities and to discourage sprawl is "two-rate property taxation," in which cities are permitted by enabling statutes to tax buildings and other capital improvements at a lower rate than lot values. The rationale is that a lower tax rate can act as an investment incentive, spurring renovations and new construction in already-developed areas. Pennsylvania has had such a law since 1913... If similar legislation were enacted in New England, cities like Hartford, Lawrence, and Waterville would have another local policy tool with which to encourage economic development."
Richard England is Professor of Economics and Natural Resources at the University of New Hampshire.
The World Social Forum will take place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, January 23-28, 2003. Registration for delegates and workshops at WSF 2003 is now open and the forms are available on the newly updated site: www.forumsocialmundial.org.br
The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, to formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action.
The five thematic areas for WSF 2003 are:
For more information, see www.portoalegre2003.org
Dan brings many assets besides his understanding of political economy to a very challenging job. He has a historical perspective, experience in networking and great stage presence. I look forward to working with him, and have every reason to expect success.
Let me also extend my appreciation to others who applied. Their resumes will remain on file for future reference.
Mike Curtis, Director of Education
GN Comments: Congratulations and good luck to Dan Sullivan!
GN Comments: For many years, the field of "eco-city" planning and management has paid rather little attention to public revenue - how will cities of the future be funded? We can show, better than anyone else, that an appropriate, sustainable, ecologically sound form of municipal revenue exists - land value taxation (LVT). Moreover, LVT is not a mere theory, but has a proven track record in dozens of municipalities around the world. Here is an announcement of an Internet event in which Georgists should participate.
We are looking for papers and articles that are already available on the web and that contain information related to ecocity development and to the themes defined in detail at www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ecocity03/themes.html
A CD will be available in January 2003 and will contain all materials from www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ecocity03
GN Comments: Some people object to a Georgist tax shift because they fear that sudden rises in land value could cause some people to suffer large tax increases. One popular answer to that criticism is to point out that if people really do feel such a risk, a private insurance market will arise to protect them. Fred Foldvary has a Forbes magazine article indicating that a similar insurance market, for house price declines, is already starting to form. Here is an excerpt from the Forbes article ("Price-Protect Your Home" by Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff, August 29, 2002):
"The solution to this problem is rather simple: insurance against price declines, working rather like index put options you might buy to protect your stock portfolio. Working with colleagues at Yale, NYU and Realliquidity.com, a home equity products firm, we determined that a one-time 1.5% premium would be enough to cover expected losses in Syracuse. After three years and upon sale of the home, the policy allows the owner to collect a payment equal to the percentage decline in a local home-price index times the coverage (typically the house purchase price).
"Will people with equity protection just stop taking care of their homes? No. The protection is not for the value of a specific home, but rather for the index of housing prices in a particular ZIP code. A buyer who spruces up a house and sells it at a profit can still collect on the protection if the neighborhood index is down."
We are sad to report that Irene Hickman has passed away.
A powerful and persuasive individual, Hickman had been a Georgist since the 1960s. In 1966 she won election as property tax assessor for Sacramento County in California, and her attempt to bring justice to the assessment process stirred up controversy. We need more people like that, and we salute Irene Hickman.
So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private
citizens will occasionally kill theirs.
- Elbert Hubbard
Nothing is so contagious as example, and our every really good or bad action
inspires a similar one.
- François, duc de La Rochefoucauld
Example is not the main thing in influencing others - it's the only thing.
- Albert Schweitzer
The Georgist News is an email newsletter, sent free of charge. Its purpose is to keep you updated on the latest news, world events, projects, and initiatives of relevance to people who, like Henry George, seek a world free from special privilege and free from the causes of poverty.
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