Deadline for our December issue: November 24.
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CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
1. News from Nicaragua
2. Three Notes from the CGO
3. Green Party and Chamber of Commerce Seek SVT in Ireland
4. Ontario Green Economics Primer
5. Special Tax Privileges Fail
6. Impressions About Land Taxation
7. Global Warming and the Economy
8. A Pollution Haven?
9. The Original Tithe
10. Eastern Economic Association Annual Conference
11. Affordable Housing Conference
12. AT THE MARGIN: Quips and Quotes
13. About The Georgist News
by Paul Martin
Saludos from Instituto Henry George Nicaragua!
Below are the headlines of recently uploaded news stories on our website at
Enter and click on the "NEWS and Photos" link to get to the "IHG News as of October, 2004" page and the following stories which include informative news, updated IHG statistics, and some interesting photos:
Enjoy your visit to our website!
Paul Martin, Director Instituto Henry George Managua, NICARAGUA
by Sue Walton
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - August 3-7, 2005 for the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations, Inc. And what better location than Philadelphia, Henry George's birth place?
PRICE FREEZE - The Executive Committee of the Council of Georgist Organizations would like to announce that there is a price freeze in effect on all full conference packages for 2005.
PROGRAM - The CGO Executive Committee along with the Philadelphia Planning Committee for the 2005 CGO conference is actively working on an exciting program; it hopes to announce its schedule by February 1, 2005.
GN Comments: This report comes from the politics.ie web site, dated October 13, 2004:
"Chamber of commerce adopts Green policy on site value tax"
Green Party Finance spokesperson Dan Boyle said, "I am pleased to see that the Chambers of Commerce is adopting a green policy on such an important issue. The Green Party is the only political party which has spoken out in favour of a site value tax, within the context of wider taxation reform."
"The Green Party proposal for a site value tax would encourage developers not to "sit on" zoned land. Such a tax would be easier and cheaper to administer, would raise revenue, be fairer, more transparent and would involve fewer conflicts of interest."
"At present the decision to rezone land can generate enormous sums of money for the owners yet the local authorities and increasingly businesses are left to bear the expense of creating and maintaining services and infrastructure."
"A recent example was the decision by Wicklow County Council to rezone 172 acres of land in Ashford. Had this rezoning gone through (it was rescinded at last Monday's meeting) the price of the land would have shot up from approximately 19,000 euros per acre to about 150,000 euros per acre, leaving the landowner with an overnight profit of 22 million euros. However, a site value tax, as proposed by the Green Party and which is now being called for by the CCI, would ensure that a large percentage of this massive profit is reinvested by the local authority into the community to pay for vitally needed services and infrastructure," concluded Deputy Boyle.
GN Comments: An excellent, brief summary of Green Economics principles has been released by Frank de Jong, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, Canada. Georgist principles form the core of this excellent Green document. We expect to see this "primer" circulated in many places around the world.
Meanwhile, you can view the entire text at the web site of the Earth Rights Institute: http://www.earthrights.net/vision.html#primer
Georgists know that artificial subsidies only create temporary benefits for a handful of politically-connected insiders, not real improvements in an economy. That's why we oppose corporate welfare. Site value taxation, by contrast, promotes a level playing field because it removes economic distortions, and gives the same reform to everyone, not just a few.
Here is a new set of findings about local corporate welfare, sent in by Ed Dodson. It may not surprise any Georgist News readers, but still it is nice to see studies that confirm and support our positions.
Reposted from the National Center for Policy Analysis digest (10/25/04):
Many cities use tax incentives and other amenities to attract large companies to their areas, with the hope of spurring economic growth and employment. However, a recent study indicates that large companies may not boost economic growth, and in fact may displace other businesses.
William F. Fox and Matthew N. Murray of the University of Tennessee measured economic growth in two groups of both metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and county-wide areas: those with the presence of at least one large company (employing at least 1,000 people) and the "control" group, those without a large company. Researchers discovered:
The researchers concluded that the race for attracting large companies through local tax abatements and other economic incentives does not necessarily translate into a path of regional employment and personal income growth.
Source: William P. Fox and Matthew N. Murray, "Do Economic Effects Justify the Use of Fiscal Incentives?" Southern Economic Journal 71, no.1, July 2004.
A survey of state legislators has found that most are at least somewhat familiar with land value taxation and split rate taxation, and believe it would be beneficial to economic development. Only a minority, however, believe that it would reduce sprawl. And only a few have ever been contacted by citizens or organizations concerning split-rate or land value taxation. The article 'What Politicians Know About Land Taxation', by David Brunori, is in Land Lines (Oct '04). It's posted at http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/pub-detail.asp?id=972
GN Comments: Thanks to Chuck Metalitz, director of the Henry George School of Chicago, for sending in that notice. We encourage you to read the Brunori report.
by Ed Dodson
Look at the latest on global warming and what scientists think ought to be done. The proposed measures do not, of course, recognize the importance of collecting economic rent. The Wall Street Journal reported on October 22, 2004 that the Earth Institute at Columbia University (headed by economist Jeffrey Sachs) is offering a $200,000 "international prize for idea on how to [reduce] CO2" and "will launch a roundtable made up of business, environmental and political leaders to discuss long-term strategies."
One idea that might stir the discussion: an open letter signed by a good cross-section of environmentally-aware economists and others that stresses the likely behavioral shifts and market responses to the imposition of significant taxes on economic rent.
GN Comments: If you care about pollution, pollution taxes, incentives, and the effects of environmental policy on site values, have a look at this new collection of articles. It's free. Here is the announcement:
The Berkeley Electronic Press is pleased to announce a special issue of The B.E. Journals in Economic Analysis & Policy, on "The Pollution Haven Hypothesis," edited by Don Fullerton of the University of Texas.
Do polluter location decisions respond to pollution policies, and do jurisdictions adopt weak environmental regulations to attract industry and jobs? Does trade liberalization affect the incentives of governments to regulate dirty industries? How does the analysis of trade and trade policy vary if pollution is local, regional, or global, and how should regional and global institutions respond? These are just some of the questions addressed in this special issue.
Where does the notion of a "tithe" come from? The Bible, we say, and we normally let it go at that. But Georgist John Kelly has researched further and made some remarkable findings. Here is a note sent in from Chuck Metalitz:
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty has published John Kelly's article "The Tithe: Land Rent to God" in the July/August issue of Religion & Liberty. John asserts, from scriptural evidence, that the tithe, which was imposed only on the use of land and not on productive labor, was used primarily for what we'd now call civil government functions.
Two quotes from the article:
"Was there ever a bridge that needed repair in ancient Israel? How was the repair organized, funded, and accomplished? That the scripture is silent on this does not mean it did not happen...it was in all likelihood funded by the residual of the tithe."
"The tithe is the last of the four great economic building blocks God set up in his Law, completing the system of the Sabbath, the Sabbatical year, and the Jubilee. The results for his people were freedom, justice, prosperity, and equal rights in the kingdom of God."
The Eastern Economic Association 2005 Conference will be held in New York City at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, March 4-6, 2005.
The final deadline for submitting papers and organized sessions is November 12, 2004.
At least four Georgists - Alanna Hartzok, Jeffery Smith, Nic Tideman, and Polly Cleveland - presented papers last year at the Basic Income subconference of EEA.
For more information, visit: www.iona.edu/academic/arts_sci/orgs/eea/conf2005/NYhome.html
GN Comments: Thanks to Alanna Hartzok, director of the Earth Rights Institute, for informing us of this upcoming event.
The Fannie Mae Foundation 2004 Annual Housing Conference, "States of Change: Innovative Policy and Investments for Stronger Communities," will be held Wednesday, November 10, 2004, at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC (United States).
A number of concurrent panels, a luncheon speech by Massachusetts governor
Mitt Romney, and other features will fill the day. For more information,
AHCrsvp@fanniemaefoundation.org or visit:
The past is a guide post, not a hitching post.
- L. Thomas Holdcroft
Above all, challenge yourself. You may well surprise yourself at what
strengths you have, what you can accomplish.
- Cecile M. Springer
Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a
company work, a society work, a civilization work.
- Vince Lombardi
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