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CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
The very busy Joshua Vincent, director of the Henry George Foundation of America, sends this report:
Although the citizenry was aroused, their elected officials remained in their ongoing torpor when dealing with pressing tax reform. Most of council was absent, but those present heard from dozens of witnesses with all except the Philly Auto Dealers asking for land value taxation (LVT). Geoist speakers included: Joan Sage, Pat Lowe, Richard Biddle, Joshua Vincent, Al Hartheimer, Dan Sullivan, Sandy Sorlien and Ed Goppelt.
The clash of democracy and entrenched politicos was never more in evidence. The presiding councilperson declared that more of the councilmembers would have shown up, but it was election year, and that land taxers "should have been more sensitive" to the needs of elected officials. The contempt that elected officials (with some exceptions, especially courageous City Controller Jonathan Saidel who is leading this fight), hold for taxpayers appears to be on course for classic "blowback."
Yet, it was in all an upbeat day. The flood of citizens - many of who, frustrated by the sluggish system and the impolite treatnent, wandered off with steam coming out their ears - will not go away soon. The chairman of the Philadelphia Tax Reform commission, former councilman Ed Schwartz pledged that the commission would take land tax up in a May meeting. Our Philadelphia effort is slowly gaining real support for LVT, permitting us to by-pass the corrupt system that runs the city. Awareness plus information equal power for both people and land taxation.
GN Comments: Thanks to Josh Vincent. And please read that last sentence again, will you? Awareness plus information equal power for both people and land taxation.
The Geonomy Society is considering changing its name. Here is a request for your opinions, from Geonomy Society president Jeff Smith:
GN Comments: Although we would like to see many additional suggestions, please don't send them to the Georgist News. Send your ideas straight to Jeff Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org where they can be considered immediately.
Sue Walton has sent this announcement:
Take a look and allow yourself to register for this exciting event.
There is a second web site dedicated to the CGO Conference. This one is
targeted in particular at non-Georgists who might be
interested in attending. Take a look, and direct all your friends to:
People attending the CGO conference in Bridgeport, Connecticut, July 16-20, will have a vast array of fun options for their Friday night. Sue Walton notes these possibilities:
+ + + + +
"Friday night of the CGO conference will be 'free time.' When your conference confirmation is sent, you will be asked to make a preliminary (but not necessarily firm) choice of as to what activities interest you most:
Please call the CGO Administrators, Sue & Scott Walton at 888/262-9015 or email them at: email@example.com with any questions."
The Council of Georgist Organizations invites your organization to exhibit at the CGO's 23rd Annual Conference, to be held July 16-July 20, 2003 at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Tables are Fifty ($50.00) dollars (USD) and may be shared (Half Tables are $35.00 each). The deadline to reserve space is June 25th, 2003 or when all space is sold. Payment in full is due with your reservation.
Also, this year, individuals or organizations may promote themselves, thru "inserts" that will be distributed to all conference attenders when they arrive. The cost for inserts shall be $25.00 per item. Inserts may be either letter or legal size. On or about July 1, 2003, the CGO staff will be notifying "inserters" as to how many copies to provide us and where to send them.
If you are interested in either of these opportunities, contact conference administrators Sue & Scott Walton at 1111 Church St.#405, Evanston, IL 60201 USA, or phone 847-475-0391, or fax 775-248-8630, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We recently received a nice note from Mark Sullivan, parts of which are reprinted here:
"Georgists need to address the issue of how tax money is spent - not just collected. If we had Georgist tax reform in many other countries around the world, the public revenue would go to finance social services (including ecological protections and citizens' dividends) that benefit the population in an equitable manner.
"But in the United States, our tax money, particularly on the federal level, does not finance social services that benefit the population in an equitable manner. Instead, our tax dollars go into the pockets of weapons manufacturers in return for which bombs are dropped on innocent civilians in other countries and US soldiers (who joined the military for lack of economic opportunity elsewhere). Or our taxes go into the pockets of private companies that construct prisons within which to lock up the unemployed, stealing their lives and exploiting their labor. With the federal government taking as much as possible and giving back as little as possible, state and local governments are hard-pressed to finance desperately-needed public goods and services. Poverty and slavery are on the rise in America.
"The tax-spending polices (foreign and domestic) of the US government are unjust and immoral. They are driven by corrupt private interests that own the government that now treads upon the people of the United States and the people of the world. It is my personal opinion that we need to criticize and change US government values, goals, spending priorities - and the lack of real democracy - as an integral part of Georgist tax reform in America."
GN Comments: And what do YOU say? Send your own reflections, or replies to Sullivan, to email@example.com and we'll try to print as many as we can in next month's issue.
Georgist News reader Ed Dodson recently spotted this in the April 22 San Francisco Chronicle (by Susan Fornoff):
"Is the California land market poised for a general downturn?"
"Although many are doing so due to job relocations, others have based their decision on the lower cost of living, better schools, lower taxes, and the lack of natural disasters in other areas. Moreover, many Bay Area sellers are motivated by sky-high housing values that allow them to obtain a steep price for their property and purchase a larger and nicer home in another state for significantly less. For example, Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau public relations manager Michelle Streeter says that homeowners can move to the Arizona city and "get three times the size house here for the price of the one you sold in California."
GN Comments: I doubt that any California politicians ever intended to arrange the economy so that people would, in effect, be paid to leave that state, yet that appears to be their current situation. What might be some long-term impacts of this out-migration of wealthy homeowners?
Edward J. Dodson, Director of the School of Cooperative Individualism, has issued this request for help:
'From Political Economy to Economics' is accessible at the following
GN Comments: Please take a look and send your remarks to Ed Dodson at firstname.lastname@example.org
What I do today is important because I'm exchanging a day of my life for it.
Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
- Samuel Johnson
The man on top of the mountain did not fall there.
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