THE GEORGIST NEWS
Volume Nine, Number One July 1, 2006
Welcome to the July issue of The Georgist News.
This movement rocks! There's even more news this issue than last! Well, never
too much good news. Below you'll find new laws to recover ground rents, new
political entities to carry our message, more coverage in the media, sites for
grants and data, and comforting remarks from greats of the past. As always, we
invite you to send us your news and views to share with others.
The deadline for our August 2006 issue is July 25.
You can always reach the Georgist News at
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
From Lindy Davies, for the CGO Nominating Committee
Congrats to the newly elected Council of Georgist Organization officers: Ted
Gwartney, President; Ed Dodson, Vice President; Pia DeSilva, Secretary; Toni
Gwartney, Treasurer. Thanks to all who stood for election (and who mustered
the gumption to vote). They take office at the end of the next annual
conference of the CGO, July 19 - 23 in Chicago.
Prices have gone up for the 2006 CGO conference: full packages are $425.
Payment must be received by July 5. After that, prices go up to $450, and
neither meals nor space on the el tour can be guaranteed.
The conference will be "blogged," thanks to Jamie Reynolds, who has
and will be coming to the CGO conference, thanks to Sue Walton's initiative.
He is a NYS-based student of Kris Feder at Bard. Wyn Achenbaum discovered the
twenty-eight-year-old Georgist via Google's blog search capability. Looking
forward to seeing you all!
The CGO follows on the heels of the biannual conference of the International
Union for Land-Value Taxation & Free Trade in London from July 2 to 8.
And it precedes another meeting, initiated by your editor, up the lake in
Milwaukee. Affordable Housing activist and professional, Bill Sell, notified
his extensive list, which includes the mayor: "Dear friend, neighbor,
acquaintance. Please keep July 24th open for an opening discussion of True
property tax reform. I sent you an email earlier this week. If you did not get
it, please let me know. This is going to be a highly significant event, with
two men who have explored and developed a property tax that works. See "Where
a Tax Reform Has Worked: 28 Case Summaries" at
This is the big event. We are going to start something in Milwaukee that will
shake our thinking, and maybe our tax structure. Please feel free to join us.
From Daily News, 06/27/2006
By Staff Writer Patrick Cloonan
via Joshua Vincent
Director, Center for the Study of Economics
School officials said Clairton will be the least expensive city or borough in
Allegheny County in which to build or to live after they approved a budget
that lowers combined city and school taxes on buildings to 4.32 mills.
However, while that's compared to a combined 29.5-mill rate without land value
taxation, larger landowners such as U.S. Steel and those with largely unused
lots may expect higher school tax bills in 2006-07. The spending plan approved
Monday by Clairton City School District's board of directors is another
deficit budget. The board voted 7-1 to ratify a plan that anticipates
$13,118,500 in expenditures and projects $12,910,000 in revenues.
Josh notes: CSE has worked with the Clairton School Board for the past three
years to educate the Board and Staff about LVT. They ran the numbers and asked
all the right questions. Clairton is a tough old steel town. LVT for Clairton
city and schools will provide a measure of tax relief for homeowners and
seniors that exceeds (in dollars) both the GOP and Democratic tax reform plans
coming out of Harrisburg.
From Bill Grennon, Democratic Freedom Caucus, NH chair
As part of the ongoing efforts of Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) to fight
sprawl and promote smart growth, CLF, working with key stakeholders, wrote new
legislation (House Bill 657) recently passed and signed into law by New
Hampshire Governor John Lynch. The new law enables New Hampshire communities
to provide a tax incentive to property owners who substantially rehabilitate
underutilized downtown buildings. In particular, property owners can be
granted a tax relief period during which property taxes on renovated buildings
will not increase as a result of the rehabilitation. The duration of the tax
relief period, determined at the community level, can be up to five years,
with up to an additional four years for projects that include affordable
ed. note: Abating taxes has worked before, but works
best when the removal is permanent and the resultant rise in site value is
recovered by the community; that is, a total property tax shift from
improvements to locations.
By Guest Writer Jerry Woelfel,
Sun Coast newspapers, 06/28/06
From Wyn Achenbaum
Because homeowners in Florida, which has one of the most rapid growth rates in
the nation, continue to struggle with the burden of increased insurance costs
and escalating property taxes, Gov. Jeb Bush created the Property Tax Reform
Committee. The committee will address the differential tax burden that has
developed between first-time homestead owners and long-term homestead owners
and between homestead owners and non-homestead owners. The committee will
provide input to the Department of Revenue and the Office of Economic and
Demographic Research. Because total property tax collections have exceeded
growth in total personal income, the Property Tax Reform Committee will also
look to alternative methods for raising sufficient revenues, including split
rate and land-value taxation. The committee will consist of fifteen members
who will be appointed by the governor, two members of the Florida Senate, and
two members of the Florida House of Representatives. The rest will come from
the public and business associations, professional associations, governmental
associations, and local, regional and state agencies. The advisory committee
is to have its first meeting by August and submit its final report by
December. To be considered for appointment to the Property Tax Reform
Committee, submit your name to Gov. Bush at
Wyn is happy to send some information and links, since her website has pages
that speak to the canons of taxation.
From Mike O'Mara
The Democratic Freedom Caucus (DFC), whose platform advocates the land tax
shift, has endorsed Frank Gonzalez, a Democratic candidate for Congress in
District 21 in Florida. Gonzalez has indicated his agreement with the DFC
Platform's views regarding the land tax shift. He also has freedom-oriented
stands on civil liberties and economic freedom, in which he includes stopping
corporate welfare and other favoritism to special interests. See his
statements on the DFA Link page and on his campaign site: DFA link:
Campaign website: www.electfrank.org
The endorsement will also soon appear on the DFC's website:
From Ed Dodson
New Jersey Coalition for the Public Good announced that the Regional Plan
Association, in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,
released a report analyzing five proposals for fundamental property tax reform
in New Jersey. The report, Fundamental Property Tax Reform II: A Guide for
Evaluating Proposals, rates each proposal on how it would affect land use,
social equity, efficiency and fiscal health, based on seven specific criteria.
It analyzed land value taxation. The RPA report is available online at:
From Dave Wetzel
Transport for London (TfL)
The European Conference of Ministers of Transport discussed a "Report on CO2
Abatement Policies for the Transport Sector" at a meeting in Dublin on May
17th and 18th. The report of 232 pages, not yet officially published,
discussed aspects of CO2 reduction. "The Ministers agreed to the thrust of the
conclusions and recommendations." The report praises the work of TfL on
Congestion Charging and draws attention to Location Benefit Levy. This is the
first time that "Location Benefit Levy," an expression I coined, has been used
in an official document. I believe it is a better description than "Land Value
Tax," as it makes clear landowners pay a levy to recompense the community for
the financial benefit they receive as their location becomes more valuable
solely because of the community's actions.
From Dave Wetzel
PTEG published its report, Comprehensive Spending Review 2007: The case for
transport in the city regions. "The report also points to a link between land
and property values and transport infrastructure, stating that the most
rigorous study of this type in the UK is of the Jubilee Line Extension, which
recorded uplifts in property values of £2bn at Canary Wharf and
£800m at Southwark." The report is available at:
GLA Economics is now also studying LVT in a meaningful way. This is not in
isolation. At the UN Habitat's World forum in Vancouver in June, we learned
that both the UN and the World Bank are now seriously considering Annual Land
Value Tax as a tool to provide infrastructure, especially in the poorer
communities of the world who otherwise are unable to fund basic services like
water and sewerage treatment, let alone transportation.
From Peter Meakin
GIMFO IAAO Registered Professional Valuer, Meakin and Co
From Polly Cleveland
"Increases in land values give not only a good indication of the benefits of
infrastructure investments, but also provide an efficient and just way of
financing their costs. It is efficient to tax these values because the tax
would reduce the size of a windfall, while other taxes used to pay for
infrastructure reduce effort, penalize the division of labor, or discourage
capital accumulation. It is also just, because the chief beneficiaries [nearby
landowners] would bear the cost."
From Mark Monson
"Capture the proceeds from windfall taxes on land sales in a permanent 'fund
for future generations'. The revenues should not be coursed through the annual
national budget. That may serve the interests of the government in power for a
short period before the proceeds are dissipated. Instead, the funds obtained
from taxes on land sales should be sequestered and invested. Government should
use only the yield from that corpus for annual capital investments in social
housing and other social infrastructure; i.e., schools, universities,
hospitals, public leisure facilities, retirement homes, care homes for the
From Wyn Achenbaum
Wheels of Fortune: Self-funding Infrastructure and the Free Market Case for a
Land Tax is by Fred Harrison. Can large-scale infrastructure projects be
brought to fruition only through government intervention to fund the initial
capital outlay? Where infrastructure projects have been attempted without
public money, such as in the construction of the Channel Tunnel,
post-completion operating revenues have often been insufficient to repay the
initial debt. The London Underground Jubilee Line extension increased land
values by close to £3 billion around just two stations. When such
projects are publicly funded, this represents a substantial transfer of wealth
from taxpayers to local property owners. OTOH, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore
have utilized the value of land to fund the construction and maintenance of
extremely efficient, modern transport systems that now operate successfully
without taxpayers' money. It is estimated that for every £1 of tax
raised by the government, as much as £2 of wealth is lost to the economy
as a result of the opportunity cost of activities forgone. Reassigning the tax
burden from capital and labor to land would enable many existing taxes to be
abolished, would reduce the deadweight losses resulting from taxation, and
would enable market mechanisms to more accurately reflect the costs and
benefits of the provision of different goods and services.
From letter writer Dave Wetzel, Vice Chair, Transport for London, UK
If the Ontario Government really wants to contain urban sprawl "by encouraging
new growth within existing built-up areas" (The Globe. Mail, June 17), then
they should examine the example of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, where an Annual
Land Value Tax, called the Two-Tier Tax, has been adopted. The consequence of
taxing site value in Harrisburg is an 85% reduction of empty sites and
buildings with whole areas previously blighted now revitalized with the
building and refurbishment of affordable business premises and homes. The
resultant inward investment has increased the number of firms paying taxes to
the city from 1900 to 9000 and led to a dramatic drop in unemployment, crime,
and fires. The lesson is obvious: to contain urban sprawl and create
prosperous communities, tax location value, which is created by all of us and
do not tax buildings, wages, trade and enterprise!
From the Editor
BlueOregon is the regular weekly e-newsletter of news and commentary for
Oregon progressives. Contributors include elected officials and Democratic
Party activists and leaders. The June 20 guest column by your editor was "Tax
land, not buildings." In less than 24 hours, it drew 20 replies, including
offers to help get it on the ballot. Another wrote, "Yes, for taxing land to
curb sprawl. My little organic farm thanks you. I previously thought my only
option to curb sprawl involved our right to bear arms. :)"
Saturday, June 17, 2006
By Josh Bean
Mobile Press-Register Staff Reporter
Via Sue Walton
A group of Fairhopers has begun meeting monthly to examine how George's
principles apply to the problems of the Internet Age. "We're interested in the
whole concept of the philosophy of Henry George," said Edward Lawrence, the
president of the Georgist Association of Alabama and a director of the
Fairhope Single Tax Corp. "We look at what he had to say in the 1870s and
1880s and how that's relevant today," Lawrence said. "Downtown makes up only 1
or 2 percent of the land area, but it can produce 20 percent of the tax
revenue and 30 percent of the employment. That's significant economically and
aesthetically." Sue Walton, administrator of the Council of Georgist
organizations in Chicago, said there are 36 active groups that espouse
George's economic philosophy.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
By Josh Bean
Mobile Press-Register Staff Reporter
Via Sue Walton
Bob Drake immediately embraced the economic philosophy of Henry George when he
took a class on the Georgist movement in Chicago in 1999. Drake, though,
quickly identified a problem: George's seminal book, "Progress and Poverty,"
which was published in 1879, is difficult for modern readers to navigate
because of long sentence structure and numerous historical and mythological
allusions. That prompted Drake, who is now the president of the board and the
director of education at the Henry George School in Chicago, to update
"Progress and Poverty" into modern language. Drake also said George's
philosophy has contemporary applications, even though his book was published
more than 125 years ago.
Many economists and politicians foster the illusion that great fortunes and
poverty stem from the presence or absence of individual skill and risk-taking.
Henry George, by contrast, showed that the wealth gap occurs because a few
people are allowed to monopolize natural opportunities and deny them to
others. George did not advocate equality of income, the forcible
redistribution of wealth, or government management of the economy. He simply
believed that in a society not burdened by the demands of a privileged elite,
a full and satisfying life would be attainable by everyone.
The official book launch will be on July 19th at the Council of Georgist
Organizations conference. Its publisher is the New York-based Robert
Schalkenbach Foundation. Special Pre-Publication Price: $10.80 (+ shipping)
until July 31, 2006. Regular Price: $12.95 (+ shipping). To Be Shipped in
August. Paperback 325 pp. 2006 0-911312-98-6. Contact the publisher at
From Mike O'Mara, DFC-PA, DFC National Committee,
Another organization seems to be in the same ballpark as other geoist ones.
FLOW is a non-profit organization that promotes freedom and the
entrepreneurial spirit as ways to move toward a better society, and FLOW
attempts to go beyond left and right. For example, while advocating economic
freedom, FLOW shows recognition that land is a special case. In his essay on
The Flow Vision for the 21st Century, CEO Michael Strong looks forward to
seeing support developing "for a green tax shift using geonomic principles and
for innovative property rights solutions and Ostrom solutions to commons
From Ed Dodson firstname.lastname@example.org
The two-volume work on Lincoln, "Abraham Lincoln and the Men of his Time," by
Robert H. Browne, contains the following letter written by Abraham Lincoln to
Mr. Girdley, his partner in the law firm of Davis, Lincoln and Gridley. This
was reprinted in The Freeman, February, 1939.
"I respect the man who properly named these villains, land sharks. They are
like the wretched ghouls who follow a ship and fatten on its offal.
"The land, the earth God gave to man for his home, sustenance and support,
should never be in the possession of any man, corporation, society or
unfriendly government any more than air or water - if as much. An individual
or company, or enterprise acquiring land should hold no more than is required
for their home and sustenance, and never more than they have in actual use in
the prudent management of their legitimate business, and this much should not
be permitted when it creates an exclusive monopoly. All that is not so used
should be held for the free use of every family to make homesteads and to hold
them as long as they are so occupied.
"The idle talk of foolish men, that is so common now, will find its way
against it, with whatever force it may possess, and as strongly promoted and
carried on as it can be by land monopolists, grasping landlords and the titled
and untitled, senseless enemies of mankind everywhere."
From Ed Dodson email@example.com
In 1938, the Henry George School in New York acquired its own building in
Manhattan, located at 30 E. 29th Street. Shortly thereafter, a letter from
philosopher John Dewey to the Henry George School in New York was reprinted in
the September issue of The Freeman. Dewey wrote, "I congratulate you on the
new splendid development. The group of Henry George Schools have done a fine
work in economic and social education and the new centre is both a reward for
the good work already done and an assurance of its continued progress on a
larger scale. It must be a source of great encouragement to those who have
devoted themselves so completely to building up a most needed public
educational work." That new building had space for 21 classrooms and a weekly
attendance of 6,000 students.
From Ed Dodson firstname.lastname@example.org
The following comes from the Fannie Mae Foundation website, Knowledgeplex.
Community land trusts are gaining momentum as housing costs continue to climb,
according to an opinion article in the Rocky Mountain News. Land trusts offer
first-time buyers an opportunity to build some equity but, by limiting that
equity, ensure that the homes remain affordable to future buyers, wrote Aaron
Miripol, executive director for Thistle Community Housing in Boulder, Colo.
Thistle manages the largest community land trust west of the Mississippi, with
more than 300 permanently affordable homes built or under construction, said
the article. Land trust neighborhoods resemble conventional neighborhoods,
Miripol said. Currently, more than 6,000 homes nationwide are in land trusts.
The mayor and city council of Irvine, California plan to build 9,700
permanently affordable homes by 2025 - representing about 10 percent of the
city's housing stock - on a land trust. In July, land trust leaders from
around the country will meet in Boulder to create a new National Community
Land Trust network, Miripol said.
From Richard L. Biddle, Director Henry George School of Social Science,
Henry George Birthplace Museum, 413 South 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
The climate crisis came alive as Al Gore & Co. actually did a pretty fair job
with An Inconvenient Truth. His documentary treats a very tough,
complex subject which he handled with expert facility. It has developed over
almost 40 years, since his Harvard days in the late 60s where he was
introduced to the first empirical studies in one of his classes. See it asap.
ed. note: If climate change does motivate people to seek
solutions, a critical mass might turn to economic solutions; such as, ending
subsidies to burning fossil fuels while instead collecting site values. Having
to pay over site rents would both make fuels in the ground less profitable
plus reduce demand for any fuel. Motivating owners to use urban sites more
intensely would make cities more compact, shortening trip distances, thereby
From Fred Foldvary
In the spring of 2006 at Santa Clara University, I taught a class on real
estate economics: Economics 156. The class web site is
www.foldvary.net/econ156.html. The web site will stay up, as
I will teach it again next spring. The web site includes links to real estate
cycle news and derivatives markets; such as, a new housing futures market and
a bear market real estate fund.
From Richard L. Biddle HGSPhila@gmail.com
According to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP),
Pennsylvania is rated among the "Terrible Ten" states in tax justice; meaning
that the tax burden falls disproportionately on the state's lowest wage
earners. Good Schools Pennsylvania is supporting the Keystone Research Center
in organizing a Tax Justice Summit July 28 in Camp Hill (near Harrisburg) to
explore a moral-religious argument for tax reform. The keynote speaker will be
University of Alabama Law Professor, Susan Pace Hamill, who has become known
nationally for her work that names fair tax policy as one of the most
important issues confronting people of faith. The summit is supported by a
grant from the Ottinger Foundation. Additional co-sponsors of the event
include the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, The Interfaith Alliance of
Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, and Christian Churches United
of the Tri-County Christian Associates of Southwest PA. Register by July 14th
at the Keystone Research Center.
From Marie-Claire Ording, Manager, Office Support, Lincoln Institute of Land
Policy, 113 Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 U.S.A.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy hereby invites applications for David C.
Lincoln Fellowships, a program to develop academic and professional interest
in land value taxation through support for major research projects. Projects
may address either the basic theory of land value taxation or its application
to specific issues, domestic or international. Research funding for each
approved project will be between $20,000 and $40,000 per year. For more
information and to review the Application Guidelines, visit
Email applications must be received at email@example.com by August
15, 2006. If you have questions about the application process, email
From Edward Dodson firstname.lastname@example.org
Item in The Freeman, dated December 1938: "Ed Ross, of Arden, Del., has
written a one-act play in which Georgist principles are vividly illustrated.
In spite of its purely propagandist purpose, it is entertaining and highly
amusing. Mr. Ross claims it will take forty-five minutes to perform. About
twenty characters are in the cast. It is proposed to give this playlet as part
of an entertainment and dance to be held next February. Mr. Ross plans to
start rehearsals after first of the year." What can anyone find out about this
play? Did it every get produced? Was it written up in Arden's newsletter? And,
better still, is a copy of the script sitting around in a box somewhere? Maybe
this play could be resurrected and put on in Arden once again? Anxious for any
From Stephen Zarlenga
The American Monetary Institute launched several new chapters in Corning,
Iowa; Brookings, South Dakota; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and
Centralia, Washington. The full research results of the American Monetary
Institute are found in Stephen Zarlenga's book, The Lost Science of Money.
They have been preparing a comprehensive monetary reform act. The draft
proposal can be reviewed and critiqued on the AMI website,
From Everett Gross
Last month we reported Damon Gross' emergency admission to the hospital. Damon
is now home. He's got a basket of pills to take and appointments to set up.
But he's feeling a lot better.
Comprehensive, concise, graceful. (please don't quote me)
ed. note: Please note absence of quote marks.
From Paul Metz email@example.com
My congrats on your editorial work for the Georgist newsletter. Very readable.
Hopefully it will attract many new readers ... not only Greens.
From Paul M., IHG Managua firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow! Excellent issue! Undeniably impressive for the amount of content! Way to
go, Jeff S.!
From Mike O'Mara email@example.com
Another good issue. I just forwarded excerpts from the newsletter about
Canadian and Australian Greens to two other people. I'm curious about Chodorov
et al's efforts to mathematicize Henry George. I wonder if Tideman, Foldvary,
and other modern geonomists have models that do what Chodorov and his
colleagues were trying to do?
From Ed Dodson firstname.lastname@example.org
In an address George delivered in New York City on the 19th of November, 1887,
George spoke to some 6,000 members of the Anti-Poverty Society. "And so let us
go on, each in our way spreading the fire and the hope of this new crusade,
not merely in our meetings, but in our homes and our lives, talking to friends
and acquaintances, in asking questions and setting men to thinking. Our work
is the work of education - the education of men and women, of graybeards as
well as the little children. What we have to do is to awaken thought, to
arouse conscience, to get men to see the simple truth that justice and liberty
are the great remedies for all social and political evils."
Please keep sending your reports, comments, and other interesting material to
email@example.com. And of course you may continue to reach the Georgist News
If you know anyone who might enjoy reading this newsletter, please forward
them an issue and ask them to subscribe. As always, it's free.
College Economics Instructor: "What is Capital?" Student: "When you lend
somebody $5.00." Instructor: "What is Labor?" Student: "When you try to get it
- The Freeman, June 1939
"Whether I own the bird or the cage, it's the same thing."
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is
violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
- Arthur Schopenhauer
"I'm stalwart, you are stubborn, he, she, or it is pigheaded."
- Bertrand Russell
"Sex is one of the most wholesome, beautiful, and natural experiences that
money can buy."
- Steve Martin
The Georgist News, a project of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, is an
(plain text) email newsletter. It is brought to you 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.
The Georgist News on the WWW -
Contributing to this issue:
Wyn Achenbaum, Richard Biddle, Polly Cleveland, Lindy Davies, Ed Dodson,
Fred Foldvary, Bill Grennon, Everett Gross, Paul Martin, Peter Meakin,
Paul Metz, Mark Monson, Marie-Claire Ording, Mike O'Mara, Josh Vincent,
Sue Walton, Dave Wetzel, Steven Zarlenga.
Editor: Jeffery J. Smith
Copy Editor: Enzo Piccone
Proofreader: Caspar Davis
Archivist: Stewart Goldwater
Owner: The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
Founder: Adam Monroe
Publisher: Hanno T. Beck
The Georgist News Volume Nine, Number One July, 2006