You and I are living in a world where interdependence makes great things possible. As Henry George pointed out, our economy develops more and more sophistication and wealth-producing power, while simultaneously every region or part of the overall economy becomes more dependent on others. We can embrace that natural tendency and succeed with it. To be powerful and effective in this world, let's consider working as team-mates even if we are unaccustomed to that. Make synergy work for you!
The deadline for our March 2006 issue is February 23.
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Some fun facts about the Windy City:
The four stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition. Among the Field Museum's most prized jewels is the 5,890-carat Chalmerz topaz, which weighed 10,200 carats in the rough. Chicago has twenty-nine miles of lake frontage and fifteen miles of public beach. The central water filtration plant, located on the lakefront north of Navy Pier, is the largest in the world. Chicago's Oceanarium is the world's largest indoor marine mammal pavilion and doubles the size of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, which is the largest indoor aquarium in the world. The Chicago Main Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through. The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris. (Free admission on Tuesdays.)
Fun things to do:
See Sue the T-rex (Tyrannosaurus rex) and King Tut (special tickets needed) at the Field Museum. Visit U505, the only German U-boat ever captured and brought to the States, which shares space with a Zephyr train, a coal mine, and a Boeing 707 at the Museum of Science and Industry. Get your picture taken at the Bean, a mirrored statue which delights all in Millennium Park. Take a ride up to the 95th floor observatory of Big John (Hancock) or ride the elevators up to the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower, once the world's tallest building, and see three other states: Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.
Like baseball? Both the Chicago White Sox & the Chicago Cubs are easily accessible by public transit. Or if Soccer is your sport, the Mayor's Cup Soccer Tournament will be held July 22-23 at Montrose Harbor Park. The Gay Games will be at Navy Pier July 15-22nd.
For more information please contact Sue Walton, CGO Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-262-9015.
You may obtain a free four-page summary from the Civil Society Institute, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053. You may request multiple copies. Copies have already been sent to 2000 journalists, government officials and institutes, and Georgist organizations.
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For more information, or simply to view the truly inspiring schedule of events, visit http://www.usbig.net/cong2006/schedule2006.html
"Jay Hammond, former Governor of Alaska who fathered the plan, was a Republican, although not a conservative one to my knowledge.
"At the same time, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is one of the greediest hardball politicians in Washington when it comes to pork, like his infamous "bridge to nowhere." These people have not suddenly gone all mushy and public-spirited. Something else is working below the surface. We need to figure out what it is.
"One factor is that tapping oil revenues for in-state use helps lower other taxes, like property taxes. Another is that taking from absentee owners and giving to local residents improves the local balance of payments. A third is that the neo-cons, temporarily in power, are ideologues capable of embracing an abstract concept, even though the "oilies" would foil its implementation in Iraq, as they did. The neo-cons thought they could finance the Iraq war and reconstruction from oil revenues, thus making it more popular (less unpopular) at home."
Obviously there is more to that story, but meanwhile, lobbying groups, non-profits calling themselves liberals, and some state reps doing the same, are busy lobbying to have Texas blessed with a State income tax, with the argument that this tax alone is capable of raising the school funds needed, and it's only two pages long. Rumor has it that's what the federal income tax return looked like in 1913.
The gory details are in Policy Brief #2, "The Best Choice for a Prosperous Texas: A Texas Style Personal Income Tax" and Policy Brief #3, "How to Reduce Property Taxes" published by the Center for Public Policy Priorities. You can download them on your pc (but not on a Mac, I found) from http://www.cppp.org/research.php?aid=482.
I have invited the author of Policy Brief #3, Dick Lavine, to speak at the Unitarian Universalists' Forum, the best known in Austin, which he will do May 7. He had to promise first to explain to me the superiority of an income tax over a land tax. He also gets my rebuttal which the Texas Observer printed last July after praising the Center's recommendation as "wise" in an earlier issue. Well, it's a start. (See also GroundSwell, Sept/Oct. 2005.) [GroundSwell is the membership publication of Common Ground-U.S.A., http://www.progress.org/cg/ ].
A candle in all this darkness may be Keep The Land. With the money
from selling a longtime residence, it has turned into a Foundation and
will, upon receiving requests, issue its priorities in considering
Address: Keep The Land Foundation, 3710 Cedar St. #10, Austin, TX 78705.
This site was created by David Brooks and features a wide range of materials concerned with freedom and the central role of Georgism is advancing freedom for all persons.
I sent our newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the following comments, with a copy to Professor Florida. Perhaps a few others have additional thoughts they might want to share. You can write to the paper at Philadelphia-Inquirer-Currents (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Since the tragic events that destroyed much of the City of New Orleans, we have heard from many in the scientific community that what happened was inevitable. The natural environment offered great advantages to those who first settled in the area because the river is a remarkable pathway to commerce and migration of people into the center of the North American continent. At the same time, the region was, for reasons that have been clear for many decades, not a good location for a large, urban center.
In terms of how cities are developed and managed, New Orleans is unique only with regard to the specific measures required to make the land area hospitable to human habitation. There are very few locations around the globe that are not to some extent "in harm's way."
What has been lost to us is a central observation about the process of population center growth that has crucial public policy implications. The value of land increases over time because of aggregate public and private investment rather than by what any individual owner of land does to improve land they hold. And yet, virtually every city fails to collect even a small percentage of this value in order to pay for public goods and services. Rather, most revenue is raised by imposing taxes on the production of goods and services, on property improvements, on wages and salaries, on sales of goods, and on business revenue. The result of the revenue schemes adopted by cities is very much in opposition to what common sense would dictate: new construction and rehabilitation of existing structures is penalized; job-creating activities are discouraged; and investment is drawn away from cities to suburban fringes, creating sprawl development patterns. At the same time, low effective rates of taxation on land holding results in vast tracts of urban land left undeveloped or minimally used as surface parking lots or, worse, left heavily polluted and abandoned by owners who have moved on or gone out of business, leaving the cleanup bill to the citizens who remain.
New Orleans presents a very visible case of publicly created land values. Only by the construction of the levee system was the quantity of dry land expanded. So long as the levee system held back the water - and the public believed the system was unlikely to fail - New Orleans continued to attract visitors and residents. The demand for locations on which to construct commercial buildings and residences increased. The effectively low tax rates on land values could be continuously capitalized into higher and higher land prices. Then the levees broke, and much of the city was flooded. Not only were buildings destroyed, but the "land values" generated by the artificial creation of dry land essentially disappeared overnight.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-provided funds have already been expended to shore up the levee system and pump out the invading waters. Billions more will have to be expended to bring the system up to a standard of protection deemed necessary because of heightened, long-term environment changes. When investors are convinced these public expenditures will be made, that the dry land will remain dry and development permitted, they will once again begin acquiring sites.
Despite pronouncements by federal and state officials that every effort is being made to assist lower-income families and others who have lost most or all of their personal possessions, their homes, and their employment, this disaster - as with all disasters - has created an opportunity for some who have access to financial reserves to come in and acquire for very little money, the properties of people who are desperate for cash. We can be sure that speculators are moving in to take advantage of the uncertainty of the future, "gambling" that land values will recover over time, and that the expenses of making this happen will fall on others.
My recommendation to the officials in New Orleans is to include in its plan of recovery the recapture of public expenditures that result in rising land values. Ideally, as the city condemns flooded areas and demolishes existing damaged structures, title to the land should be held by the city and offered for lease to the highest bidder rather than sold outright. This strategy would enable the city to accurately track the recovery of the city's land markets and to set the rate of taxation on privately owned land to closely match what the land would lease for if publicly held. At the same time, the city should exempt property improvements from the tax base. This will greatly encourage new construction and the renovation of buildings that need to be upgraded against future possible flood damage. A uniform exemption of buildings from the tax base is a far better way to rebuild the city than piecemeal abatements to particular developers.
If the above-recommended measures are adopted by New Orleans, other cities will have a clear example to follow of how to create a thriving, urban environment that provides quality public goods and services to all residents.
The Program Committee welcomes research papers and policy studies related to asset- and wealth-building topics, such as the role of tax policy in asset accumulation, housing and wealth, innovations in asset building products and programs, and cost-benefit analyses of asset-building policies. For more details on all topic areas and submission guidelines, please visit http://www.frbsf.org/community/resources/callforpapers.pdf
GN Comments: As more information becomes available, we will share it with you. In the meantime, if you wish additional details, contact Stephen Zarlenga at email@example.com
Georgist policies would make redevelopment more likely than sprawl development. New Jersey is the most densely populated of the 50 states and can benefit enormously from "infill" development rather than sprawl.
For more information on New Jersey Future and the upcoming forum, visit http://www.njfuture.org/index.cfm
The online course is brand-new - in "beta-test" version - and things may be revised or added before we're ready to go fully public.
GN Comments: If you would like to assist in the testing of this online course, please volunteer to Lindy Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of us knew John as a frequent attendee of CGO conferences with Nadine.
John grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, and received his Master of Arts in Science from U.M. Duluth. He was a 10th grade science teacher in the Beloit school system 1961-1994, having previously taught at the Red Lake Indian Reservation High School in Minnesota.
He was active in the Beloit Education Association and the First United Methodist Church, and was chairman of the board of the Teachers Credit Union. After retirement he became active in the Beloit Area Retired Educators Association (BAREA) and served as treasurer from 1996.
If memorials are made, they may be directed to the BAREA Scholarship Fund or to the First United Methodist Church Scholarship Fund.
GN Comments: If you would like to know mailing addresses for Nadine Stoner, the BAREA Scholarship Fund, or the First United Methodist Church Scholarship Fund, please contact Sue Walton at email@example.com.
It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers
equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating
at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.
- Helen Keller
We need to teach the next generation of children from Day One that
they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also
its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our
choices built from love or from fear.
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
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