If we could recommend just one activity for you this month, it would be to inform yourself about the Supreme Court's "Kelo" decision - and then you'll probably have a lot of ideas for getting a Georgist message to people who are shocked or disgusted by the court's decision in that case.
Even the people who never listen to you normally will want to hear what you recommend after Kelo - and please note that no other voices are speaking on this issue, other than to condemn the decision. Let's offer positive suggestions and earn some new allies.
Deadline for our August 2005 issue: July 26.
You can always reach the Georgist News at email@example.com
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
by Wendy Rockwell
Lands that are state owned, biological or indigenous reserves are exempt.
The tax on land within 500 and 50 meters from the beach pay $2.00 USA per square meter. Lands that are part of said properties yet outside the 500 meter mark pay the same rate for all of the property.
The tax on land by rivers, lakes, forests or similar tourist attractions pay $1.50 USA per square meter, not applicable to above mentioned lands.
All properties with 100 meters of national highways pay c450.00 a square meter (the US dollar is worth c470.00, this week), not applicable to above mentioned lands.
Commercial and industrial designated lands, whether so used or not, pay c350.00 a square meter, not applicable to above mentioned lands.
Land designated as urban pays c175.00 per square meter, not applicable to above mentioned lands.
Large tracts of unused lands pay c15.00 on the square meter with the amount slightly increasing as the holding increases in size.
The income tax, the property tax, along with some other taxes would all be eliminated.
This land tax will raise the sum equivalent to the present national budget plus three times the sum of all of the municipal governments.
This proposed legislation may be tested in three counties prior to its going up for a vote in the national assembly.
José Francisco Salas Ramos initiated a regional political party, Partido Auténtico Herediano. (The Heredian Authentic Party - Heredia is one of the seven provinces)
An urgent note from Sue Walton:
The hotel phone number is 215/735-6000 or 800/333-3333 (in the USA). The promotional code is GEORG. You can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions - please call Sue Walton at 888/262-9015 or 847/475-0391.
Register Now - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - August 3-7
by David Giesen
The 27 acre site, adjacent to 700,000 acres of national forest, is minutes from the gold-rush town of, yup, Georgetown; 30 minutes from white water on the American River, 30 minutes from Stumpy Meadows Lake, and just an hour East of Sacramento.
It's an off-the-grid parcel, graded, with pure well water pumped by solar panel, a 16' trailer, and lots of potential. The site is available to a georgist (or friend of) who'd like a land-rent-free place upon which to build or park a larger trailer. In exchange the user will render modest assistance in improving the site for the periodic georgist retreats I offer to non-profits, politicos, business-folks, etc.
Contact Dave Giesen, email@example.com or PO Box 420664 San Francisco,CA 94142
by Joshua Vincent
Thus far, we have catalogued about 35% of our collection. Also planned is a catalogue of archival material dating to the 1870s, including photos, clippings and other Single Tax, LVT and Georgist ephemera.
CSE wishes to thank our staffer, John-Scott Atlakson for his assiduous and professional efforts not only in doing the dirty work in cataloguing, but also his expertise in conservation for the many fragile pieces of century-old paper that make up our (and the Henry George Foundation's) collection.
We hope to make all of our material available on a formal basis, or on the web, by autumn, 2005.
This first flush of material is available as an Excel spreadsheet. If you need another way to get this, let us know.
Most of you have already heard of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on June 23, 2005, concerning the case of Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut.
It was a big, bad decision and it opens up a large, but brief, window of opportunity for Georgists.
Here are links to some recent commentaries on the subject.
Fred Foldvary Calls Kelo Decision "The Day Liberty Died" http://www.progress.org/2005/fold410.htm
Homeowners Lose Eminent Domain Abuse Case http://www.progress.org/2005/emdom06.htm
Wyn Achenbaum on Eminent Domain and Government Giveaways http://www.progress.org/2005/wyn01.htm
Lindy Davies on Ownership and the Law http://www.progress.org/2004/davies26.htm
A Geoist Classic from 1995: Government Takings? What About Givings? http://www.progress.org/archive/diamant.htm
For further information, you should join the MTTS email list, where William Frambach and others are discussing Georgist approaches to this subject. To find out more about the MTTS list, contact Wyn Achenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Hanno Beck
What can Georgists do? Here are some possible starting points.
(a) Georgists can say "we predicted this." In the absence of a system where landholders are clearly and openly paying their fair share - economic rent - for the privileges that they enjoy, it's only a matter of time until other, larger, greedier entities come along and plunder them. In a nonGeorgist world where property rights are not understood, everyone's property of all types is ultimately up for grabs, and whoever hires the loudest lobbyists will get the most.
(b) Georgists can formulate a response. For example, this might be a time, in some regions, to attack the sales tax. It is the most regressive of all major taxes, but now it can also be seen as a biased tax that helps corporations to abuse eminent domain. If Wal-Mart seizes your home, you can be sure they will be paying more sales tax than your home. However, if there were no sales tax, then it's less clear that there is a "public benefit" in destroying your home. The sales tax makes eminent domain abuse easier, so abolish it.
(c) This might be am especially good time for Georgists to call for shifting taxes toward land. When property taxes are high, homeowners are already paying their full "fair share" of public revenue and those who wish to destroy homes will find it more difficult to show that their plan is a public benefit.
"The best defense we can make against eminent domain abuse is to shift our community's taxes toward site values" - if you believe that, say so! Georgists can be the first people to propose specific, concrete protection measures that people can take against the threat of eminent domain abuse.
This opportunity will not last. People are upset now. A month from now, it is possible that some other crisis will be occupying their attention.
Millions of people who rarely think about land values and economic priorities are now, thanks to the Supreme Court's terrible decision, giving some serious attention to this topic. Let's make it easy for them to hear our message.
Ed Dodson of the School of Cooperative Individualism has written a review of Fred Harrison's new book, Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010.
Here is a link to the review:
by Sue Walton
The exhibit will be available only in Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago and Philadelphia. The web site is: www.kingtut.org - you can make reservations from that site.
Ed Dodson sent in an article from the AP news service, from which we have extracted these portions:
London Mayor Urges All to Try Traffic Fee
Mayor Ken Livingstone said making drivers pay a "congestion charge" to drive in central London has improved traffic flow and reduced emissions of "greenhouse gases" blamed for raising temperatures and changing weather patterns worldwide.
The $9 fee has forced people out of their cars and filled city buses, subways and sidewalks, he told mayors assembled here for the United Nations World Environment Day Conference.
"We are the only city in the Western world where there's a notable shift from car use to public transport," the London mayor said during a speech at San Francisco's Cable Car Museum. "This is the only thing I've done in my political life that turned out better than I hoped."
Livingstone, who was elected to his first term as London mayor in 2000 and re-elected last year, introduced the fee in February 2003 to relieve his city's traffic-choked streets. Revenues are reinvested in the public transportation system.
Despite protests, Livingstone imposed the fee on drivers entering an eight-square-mile area of central London that includes its financial and entertainment districts between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
A recent government study found that congestion inside the zone has fallen by 30 percent.
The Georgist News has been bought by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
From now on, the Georgist News is a project of the RSF. No major changes are planned at this time, and you will still be receiving your next Georgist News right around the first of the month.
The Project for Public Spaces and the Public Market Collaborative present the 6th International Public Market Conference, October 28-31, 2005. The event will be held at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., U.S.
The conference hopes to "explore and celebrate the vital role of markets in revitalizing towns and cities."
What is the impact of public markets on surrounding site values? If those site values were made part of the public revenue, would markets be as likely to be turned into private developments or Wal-Marts? Perhaps some Georgists can inform this conference that public markets can be powerful economic engines, not quaint charities that requires subsidy.
For more information, visit www.pps.org/markets/markets_news/6th_pm_conference
I praise loudly. I blame softly.
- Tsarina Catherine II of Russia
If you think that praise is due, now's the time to show it, 'cause a man can't
read his tombstone when he's dead.
Sometimes the best helping hand you can give is a good, firm push.
- Joann Thomas
The Georgist News is an (plain text) 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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