Is May 1 considered "Labor Day" in your country? How about the other 364 days of the year? Is labor respected as much as capital, or natural resources? What are the most powerful reasons that labor should support Georgist reforms?
Deadline for our June 2005 issue: May 25.
You can always reach the Georgist News at email@example.com
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
Register Now - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - August 3-7
A. The CGO conference brochure has been published. Have you seen this
beautiful document? You can find the brochure online by going to this page
and clicking on the prominent link:
Or, request a free copy from Sue Walton, 847-475-0391 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
B. Sue Walton reports, "Several spouses have contacted me regarding informally touring Philly. They would like to know about other spouses who will be attending, so they can perhaps, do some advance planning. So if your non-georgist spouse/significant other will be attending and would like to participate in this group, please contact me via email as soon as possible." email@example.com
GN Comments: Land value taxation is a real possibility in Connecticut. For some of the most recent news, here are portions of an April 26 article by Tobin A. Coleman that appeared in the Stamford Advocate.
The bill, passed in the Government Administration and Elections Committee April 25 in a 12-6 vote, would allow Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury to create one taxing category for land and another for improvements on the land - buildings for the most part - and to tax the land at a higher rate.
It would be up to the municipalities to decide whether they wanted to implement the new law.
The law is aimed at helping cities that have many vacant lots to recoup some of the costs of providing city services by taxing the lot owners, and to ease the burden on homeowners. The law also could be used as a planning and zoning tool to encourage more dense development where it is appropriate.
Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy said that if the law passes, the city will do a thorough analysis to examine the effect on business and residential taxpayers and determine whether Stamford should pursue the option.
"The implications in Stamford probably would be a little different than the other cities," Malloy said in a telephone interview. "Clearly we will spend a lot of time studying it... We'd have to see how it plays out n condos, single-family homes, low-density commercial and high-density commercial. ...This proposal is really 100, 150 years old. I know Pennsylvania allows it. People who propose this sort of stuff are really behind it."
Malloy said it could potentially be a detriment in some residential areas where the cost of land is nearly all of the value of a home.
Stamford City Rep. Robert "Gabe" DeLuca, R-10, said he would welcome the new law. He said the parcel of land at Tresser Boulevard and Greyrock Place, known as the "hole in the ground," is an example of an undeveloped parcel that could reap the city more in tax benefits, somewhat relieving the burden on homeowners.
"I would favor the bill," DeLuca said in a phone interview. "Anything to help the taxpayers put more undeveloped land in the tax rolls that would help us out there."
Ben Barnes, Stamford's director of administration, said the proposed law appears to have advantages but could make it more difficult for people who are seeking a home with a big yard.
"I think it's an intriguing concept," Barnes said by phone. His department would implement the change it it were approved. "Like revaluation, the devil is in the details," he said.
State Rep. Gerald Fox III, D-Stamford, voted in favor of the bill when it emerged from the Planning and Development Committee a few weeks ago. Fox said the bill might have more implications for the other cities, but Stamford could benefit.
"For Stamford, I'm encouraged that they are trying different ways of taxation," Fox said. "Some may benefit Stamford. I don't know that this is the one."
Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez testified in favor of the bill at a public hearing on Feb. 23.
"When someone holds a profitable parcel of property rather than developing it, the tax code rewards this activity," Perez said. "By correcting the problem with a land-value tax, the state will create a more equitable system where all businesses pay their fair share of property taxes, not just the ones that have buildings and improvements located on them."
Fox and Malloy support two other provisions in the bill. One would appoint a council to help merge the various city and town geographical information systems into one system.
GN Comments: Additionally, an editorial in the Hartford Courant on April 17, entitled "Arrest Connecticut Sprawl," supported the legislation.
Samuel Brittan had an article in the April 15 issue of Financial Times (UK), supporting the idea of land value taxation. You can view the article, entitled "A tax idea that cannot be buried," at: www.samuelbrittan.co.uk/text211_p.html
In a letter that appeared April 25, Paul Ingram, a Green Party candidate, added further support. Ingram wrote, "Samuel Brittan's timely call for a land value tax represents a typically unusual but sensible alternative to the status quo. As he says, the Liberal Democrats' local income tax scheme was not only poorly thought out on the day, but is essentially a bad idea.
"In contrast, the Green party uniquely goes into this election with the policy suggested by Sir Samuel. I might add that a land value tax not only raises revenue without any disincentive effects, it also encourages a more efficient allocation of scarce resources, something the Green party is seeking to achieve in all its tax proposals, from eco-taxes replacing value-added tax to ending the poverty trap by replacing benefits with a 'citizens income.'"
by Ed Dodson
Below is the text of a letter written by Milton Friedman in 1979 to William Newcomb (Media Foundation for Land Economics). I uncovered this extensive excerpt in a 1982 newsletter of the Henry George School of Northern California. This is the first time I have ever seen this letter, although there are various quotes attributed to Milton Friedman floating around, and included in the School of Cooperative Individualism website - see: www.cooperativeindividualism.org/georgism_03.html
Does anyone out there have a photocopy of any of the letters exchanged between Friedman and Newcomb? These would be interesting documents to make available on-line as image files.
"On the other side of the issue, there are many other resources, of which human labor is one of the most important, which are, to put it in technical economic jargon, in inelastic supply so that a tax on the return from such services is unlikely to affect the amount of such services made available for market use. The most obvious are such items as the skill of a Muhammed Ali or of a Frank Sinatra. These are natural resources too, and they are limited in supply and derive their value from their scarcity.
"I realize that in almost all other respects the views of the Georgists and of my own are very much the same. I am more than glad to join with them in common objectives, but I could not ally myself with the Georgist movement in any sense which suggested that I agreed with its fundamental underlying premises."
Dr. Foldvary's newest article on "Geo-rent" was published on April 1, 2005, in the journal EJW (econjournalwatch.org). To view the article, visit: www.econjournalwatch.org/main/index.php?view_issue=1&categories_id=6
by Ed Dodson
Over the last century, Georgists have come up with many different strategies to reach and influence people. One such effort was undertaken in the early 1960s in Chicago by John Lawrence Monroe, who established the Institute for Economic Inquiry. While going through material stored in the basement of the Henry George birthplace in Philadelphia, I happened across some of the Institute's promotional material. Along with this information were several newspaper stories on the Institute.
I am sure there are some Georgists out there still who worked with John Monroe on this project and can provide some additional details and reflect on how the program worked (and how well it worked).
I have created a page at the School of Cooperative Individualism website that pulls all of this information on the Institute together in one place. I hope some readers will take a look and send me any comments you have. Here's the direct link: www.cooperativeindividualism.org/institute-for-economic-inquiry.html
Who owns the land? How is the value of land created? Who bears environmental responsibility? These questions and others will be explored during August 1-5, 2005, as the Chautauqua Institute hosts a series of lectures on the subject of "The Land & Justice."
Alanna Hartzok of the Earth Rights Institute will be the featured lecturer on
August 1, and Lindy Davies of the Henry George Institute will be the featured
lecturer on August 3.
For further information, visit: http://religion.ciweb.org/lecturers.html
Bruno Moser reports that an interesting conference is coming up in Viet Nam. The "Second International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability" will run January 9-12, 2006, in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.
Paper proposals will be accepted until June 1. For further information, visit: http://s06.cgpublisher.com/proposals/proposal_entry_intro
Although she was not able to attend in person, Alanna Hartzok was honored in Aba, Nigeria on April 30.
Hartzok was presented with the Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE) in Oral Public Communication and Leadership. This award is in recognition of Hartzok's "invaluable contributions in promoting self help projects in Nigeria such as the Odi Ecovillage Project in Odi Bayelsa State, Nigeria, as well as for moving the public speaking profession forward by her eloquent speech during the launching of Odi project."
Congratulations to Alanna Hartzok!
GN Comments: Georgists are occasionally told that improving a run-down neighborhood is bad, not good, because gentrification forces long-time residents from their homes and breaks up the character of a neighborhood. Although we do not see that as a good excuse for continued poverty, the issue does not go away easily. Here are some new considerations, from a USA Today article spotted by Ed Dodson.
Dodson: The following information on gentrification appeared in a USA Today story (20 April 2005) by Rick Hampson - "Studies: Gentrification a boost for everyone." This story was based on a paper by Lance Freeman, "Displacement or Succession? Residential Mobility in Gentrifying Neighborhoods," Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 40, No. 4, March 2005.
In an article last month in Urban Affairs Review, Freeman reports the results of his national study of gentrification - the movement of upscale (mostly white) settlers into rundown (mostly minority) neighborhoods.
In a separate study of New York City published last year, Freeman and a colleague concluded that living in a gentrifying neighborhood there actually made it less likely a poor resident would move - a finding similar to that of a 2001 study of Boston by Duke University economist Jacob Vigdor.
Freeman and Vigdor say that although higher costs sometimes force poor residents to leave gentrifying neighborhoods, other changes - more jobs, safer streets, better trash pickup - encourage them to stay.
Skeptics who view gentrification merely as "hood snatching" should remember three things, say Freeman and Vigdor:
The School of Living will hold its Anniversary Gathering June 24-26, 2005, at the Heathcote Community, Freeland, Maryland, U.S.
For full information, visit: www.s-o-l.org/gathering.htm
The School of Living is an educational organization dedicated to learning and teaching the philosophy, practices and principles of living that are self-empowering for individuals within the general aim of establishing decentralized, ecologically-sound, self-governed and humane communities.
Tony Vickers' son Ed has launched a new web site promoting political activity by young persons. Taxes and rent are among the major topics, and Georgist reforms are mentioned favorably.
Pay a visit to:
And leave some comments of your own.
We have received an announcement of a new online forum, "established to facilitate communication between Geoists/Georgists of all stripes and affiliations."
You can find the new forum at: http://www.geoistforum.com/
I wonder if you can help me think through a question I have regarding hotel occupancy taxes? Our WV Legislature just this month enacted a hotel occupancy tax, allowing municipalities to either increase such taxes already employed or allowing cities to enact hotel taxes, and allowing cities to raise these occupancy taxes to a maximum rate of 6% of the room rent charged. I wonder what effect such taxation will have on the property, land rent, building maintenance, overall profits, building value, land value, etc. Maybe there will be no effect, other than increasing the room charge.
Would you think through these aspects of occupancy taxes, and let me know your thinking? The occupancy tax is to be immediately forwarded to the State Tax Dept. Aren't some sales type taxes sometimes shared with the business as a way of insuring that the State gets the tax? I am putting together a newsletter and wish to explore this issue-I will credit you if you contribute some thoughts.
I hope you can be of assistance this week. Thank you very much.
Yours for George and any other Justice advocates,
Carl Shaw firstname.lastname@example.org Mt Zion, WV
A Georgist History Note by Ed Dodson
In 1940, a number of Georgists in New York City established "The School of Democracy" operating out of the Manhattan Single Tax Club offices at 1165 Broadway. Its program included a correspondence course using a book by Horace J. Haase, titled "The Economic Democracy." Haase was also teaching classes at two locations outside of Manhattan.
Another Georgist, Cecil C. Tucker, served as Executive Secretary of the school. A library was established after receiving a large donation of books and literature from a Mrs. Amalie Du Bois.
The above information is all that I have thus far been able to discover on this Georgist project and the individuals involved. If anyone has any additional material on The School of Democracy and/or its activities, I would very much like to hear from you ( email@example.com).
The Midwest Social Forum will take place June 3-5, 2005, at the Lake Geneva Campus of Aurora University in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. The gathering seeks "the enthusiastic participation of progressive individuals and organizations dedicated to the construction of a more just world."
For further information, visit: http://www.radfest.org/
The 25th anniversary Food Not Bombs Gathering will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 16-22, 2005. We are assured that "the city will be abuzz with a grassroots convergence for non-GMO foods, biodiversity and global justice."
For further information, visit: www.foodnotbombs.net/philly_gathering.html
Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an
unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will
enable you to attain the success you seek.
- Mario Andretti
Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic.
- Stephen R. Covey
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the
only end of life.
- Baruch Spinoza
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