March 2017

 Obituary of Andrew Mazzone

“The Henry George School of Social Science mourns the loss of Andrew B. Mazzone, president and CEO of its board of directors. Andy, who was born in Massachusetts and resided in New York City, died February 21, 2017. His vision and passion heralded many successes for the school, founded in 1932 to establish economic justice and sustainable prosperity.”

Why Britain’s disastrous housing shortage is the economy’s top threat

House prices are far too high relative to earnings in most parts of the U.K., property costs are gobbling up too much of national income, reducing productivity and denting economic growth, and the latest homeownership figures make for grim reading.

The Housing Crisis Is Not Inevitable

New York City can’t tackle its housing crisis without taking on real estate speculation. The theory that an imbalance between supply and demand has created a housing crisis makes some intuitive sense. But this simplistic account overlooks the role of speculators and other producers, who play a major role in creating this demand and the rising prices that go with it, along with the inevitable gentrification and displacement of poorer residents that follows.

Gentrification and soaring rents are not inevitable. There is an alternative to de Blasio’s approach. But if the city is serious about bringing down housing costs, it has to be willing to acknowledge and take on speculative real estate development. In the absence of federal funds for public housing, the new buildings could be created as part of community land trusts, limited equity co-ops, or mutual housing — proven models that would keep the units off the commercial market and render them permanently affordable.

What is Indonesia’s Progressive Tax on Idle Land Ownership?

Sofyan Djalil, Indonesian Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning, says the progressive tax on land that is deemed idle will not disturb the investment climate of Indonesia because industrial estates and land that has a clear development purpose are exempted from this tax (this includes land destined for property development projects). Through the progressive land tax, the government wants to combat speculative land buying, something that has become a problematic phenomenon in Indonesia.

New forecasting tool suggests one-quarter of single-family homes in Vancouver could be torn down by 2030

To create the teardown index, the researchers used municipal data and BC assessment records on Vancouver single-family homes purchased and sold between 2005 and 2015. With the data, they compared land value, building value and property sizes with factors including if the property was torn down a couple of years before or after being bought or sold.

With Vancouver’s recent rise in home values, the tool predicts one-quarter of detached homes in Vancouver could be torn down between now and 2030. Right now, half of single-family homes have relative building values (RBVs) below 7.5 percent, which is the value of the building relative to the total value of the land and buildings. Ideally, a new development’s RBV should be between 60 and 70 percent. The researchers discovered that when the RBV of homes drops below 10 percent, there’s a significant rise in the number of teardowns. “It’s a little bit more than one in four that get torn down at 10 percent relative building value.”

The Georgist News: February 2017

IN THE NEWS

The short life of Pennsylvania’s radical tax reform

The town of Altoona began trying out the land value tax in 2002 on the recommendation of the Center for the Study of Economics. From 2011, land value tax completely replaced taxes on buildings.

Nevertheless, five years later, land value tax advocates don’t have clear examples to point to of projects or investments in the city that would have been made without the tax system in place, and the reform has been undone.

The incentive created by the city’s land value tax was limited because the county and the school district imposed property taxes. Another major problem was that the tax system was so unusual that potential residents and businesses struggled to understand the potential benefits of moving to or investing in the city.

In some cases, businesses might have been turned off by the relatively high rate of tax on land, not understanding that there was no rate of tax on structures.

Britain has enough land to solve the housing crisis – it’s just being hoarded

The UK’s biggest house building firms are sitting on 600,000 plots of land that have planning consents – four times the number of new builds in the UK last year.

Land is often bought and sold many times over before construction goes ahead, and many owners have no intention of every building. The result is speculation and very expensive housing.

The average price of agricultural land in England is £21,000 per hectare, whereas land that has residential building consent is valued at close to £6 million per hectare.

Narendra Modi has made it extremely unappealing to be a landlord in India

The Modi government is introducing measures to encourage first-time home buyers, introducing tax incentives for self-occupied properties and rentals.

In the past, these tax incentives were capped for owner-occupied houses but not for rentals. Therefore, a landlord could book the loss they suffered on lower rent, which helped in reducing their overall taxable income. 

It is expected that this will bring new real estate to the market in turn bringing the prices down, which have already fallen by 30 percent after the demonetisation.

Mayor positive about a Land Value Tax trial

With the release of the London Finance Commission report, Assembly Member Tom Copley called for a Land Value Tax to replace the three basic property taxes: council tax, business rates and stamp duty land tax.

Copley said a Land Value Tax would discourage land banking, where developers sit on land waiting for its value to rise without building on it. This would incentivize the building of news homes quickly while raising much needed funds for investment.

Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away 640 million acres of national land to state governments. Critics fear this could eliminate mixed-use requirements, limit public access and turn over large portions for energy or property development.

The oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could soon be up for sale. States with small budgets may be unable to invest in the management of these lands and decide to sell them off.

Areas at stake are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, and contribute to more than $600 billion each year in economic stimulus from recreation and 6.1m jobs.

Not Dirt-Cheap: 10 Cities Where Land Is Worth More Than the Home on It

A home for sale last year in San Francisco’s Sunset District came perilously close to redefining the very concept of a “fixer-upper.”

The place was not inhabitable in any way, and yet it sold for just under $1 million last February after just a short time on the market. In space-strapped San Francisco, the real value of real estate lies in the land.

Could Land Value Tax reduce the tax bill for 99% of us?

Calculated based on a total land value in England of £1.842 trillion, residential properties would pay 79.5 percent of the tax, businesses 15.5 percent and agriculture 4.8 percent. Current Council Tax is unfairly distributed because it uses property bands.

On this basis, the top 1% of property wealth owners would be liable for 54% of the residential part of the tax assuming the tax is introduced at a flat rate for all. Land Value Tax, unlike Council Tax, is not a residency tax it is an ownership tax, so people in rented accommodation do not pay the tax. 

Infrastructure Australia says tax land not property to capture value

Infrastructure Australia recommends that governments gradually get rid of stamp duties and tax land values over the long term, arguing it is the “fairest” way of raising money for new infrastructure.

A new train line that makes it faster for people to get to work will typically attract people to buy houses nearby, increasing land values. IA’s report said “there are serious challenges for any form of value capture based on property prices rather than underlying land values.”

Why Falling Home Prices Could Be a Good Thing

Instead of looking at homes as investments, what if we regarded them like a TV or a car or any other consumer good? They would be somewhat cheaper in most places, where population is growing slowly. But they would be profoundly cheaper in places like San Francisco. That was the conclusion of a recent paper by the economists Ed Glaeser of Harvard and Joe Gyourko at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The paper used construction industry data to determine how much a house should cost to build if land­ use regulation were drastically cut back. Since the cost of erecting a home varies little from state to state — land is the main variable in housing costs — their measure is the closest thing we have to a national home price.

President’s Letter & New Literature

Dear Georgist News Subscribers,

We hope you have enjoyed the articles, videos, and other media we have released over the past year. Spreading these fundamentally important ideas offers hope for a world without extreme poverty and environmental destruction. This work is truly a labor of love for us all. Thank you for being part of it and we look forward to getting you more involved in our fight for justice.

One such way to get more involved includes becoming more informed. Our parent organization, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, is offering books on various facets of Georgism (follow the link to see book images and descriptions), in return for donations to help us achieve our vital mission. If you have ever been curious about the economic forces that shape the distribution of wealth on the planet, and how we can protect our environment for future generations, these books offer fresh new insight.

Please see the annual letter from RSF President Ted Gwartney. The letter contains highlights of what we have been up to over the last year. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like to donate or purchase the books, please snail-mail us this form. Further instructions for doing so are provided here.

 

Sincerely,
Jacob Shwartz-Lucas
Editor, Georgist News

Conference videos, new books, and more!

2016 CGO Videos

Presentation videos of many of the Council of Georgist Organization’s 2016  Conference in Orlando, Florida are now available online. The conference examined and celebrated the role of land trusts and intentional communities in the movement for economic justice and prosperity. Watch the videos here.

Kim-Mai Cutler – The San Francisco Bay Area: A Modern Housing Crisis

This past July, Earth Sharing organized an event in Oakland, California entitled: BIL Oakland 2016: The Recession Generation, a project of Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. The aim was to help millennials navigate the uncertainties of economic life in the aftermath of the financial crisis. One of the speakers at the event was Kim-Mai Cutler, a technology reporter and columnist for TechCrunch, best known for her work on the intersection of technology and culture in the Bay Area. Cutler has worked for Bloomberg, VentureBeat, and the Wall Street Journal. In her talk, she discusses the insights of history on the Bay Area housing crisis. From local governance issues to land value taxation, Cutler gives an in-depth analysis of what’s needed to fix the crisis. Prior to the event, Cutler wrote this article about Georgism in the Bay Area.

Click here to view Cutler’s speech.

Henry George, Anti-Statist

In this article, David S. D’Amato is critical of  Edward O’Donnell’s Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality, (available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation) claiming it characterizes George as merely a Socialist or a Progressive. D’Amato claims that George’s ideas were more aligned with supporters of free markets.

However, D’Amato is making a similar mistake. He states: “And whereas O’Donnell is clearly repulsed by the libertarian Spencer (or at least the popular caricature of him), George, for a time, “regarded Spencer as a formidable ally in his crusade to abolish private land tenure” (see David Weinstein’s Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Spencer). George even cites Spencer favorably in Progress and Poverty’s acknowledgment of the theoretical desirability of “the abolition of government,” which he calls “the promised land of Herbert Spencer.” With “for a time,” D’Amato oversimplifies George too. In fact, George wrote a scathing attack on Spencer called A Perplexed Philosopher after Spencer changed his views on land. A Perplexed Philosopher is also available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

Annual Monetary Reform Conference,
Chicago, Sep 29 – Oct 2

Dennis Kucinich and fellow Georgist Nicholas Tideman will be speaking at the upcoming 12th Annual Monetary Reform Conference.  The conference is at the University Center in downtown Chicago, September 29th to October 2nd.

Remember there are no at-the-door registrations.  Sign up now online at www.monetary.org/2016-ami-monetary-reform-conference.


New Books!

Buy both books before October 1st, and receive 20% off the total price. Simply reply to this email.

Robert Schalkenbach Foundation recently releasted two exciting books: Rent Unmasked and the The Annotated ­­­­­­­­Works of Henry George: Volume One. They are both available for purchase on the Schalkenbach website (links below).

Rent Unmasked
Mason Gaffney Festschrift

“Rent Unmasked” honors Mason Gaffney for the quality of his lifetime’s work and dramatizes the way his economic insights would resolve contemporary economic and political concerns.

The book includes fifteen new essays on How to Save the Global Economy and Build a Sustainable Future as A Tribute to Mason Gaffney.

The Annotated Works of Henry George: Volume One

The six-volume edition of the works of Henry George assembles all his major works for the first time with new introductions, critical annotations, extensive bibliographical material, and comprehensive indexing to provide a wealth of resources for scholars and reformers.

“Volume 1” presents three major works by George and new essays to provide context: Our Land and Land Policy (1871), The Irish Land Question (1881) and Property in Land (1885).

 

Georgist News September 2016 (Basic Version)

2016 CGO Videos

Presentation videos of many of the Council of Georgist Organization’s 2016  Conference in Orlando, Florida are now available online. The conference examined and celebrated the role of land trusts and intentional communities in the movement for economic justice and prosperity. Watch the videos here.

Kim-Mai Cutler – The San Francisco Bay Area: A Modern Housing Crisis

This past July, Earth Sharing organized an event in Oakland, California entitled: BIL Oakland 2016: The Recession Generation, a project of Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. The aim was to help millennials navigate the uncertainties of economic life in the aftermath of the financial crisis. One of the speakers at the event was Kim-Mai Cutler, a technology reporter and columnist for TechCrunch, best known for her work on the intersection of technology and culture in the Bay Area. Cutler has worked for Bloomberg, VentureBeat, and the Wall Street Journal. In her talk, she discusses the insights of history on the Bay Area housing crisis. From local governance issues to land value taxation, Cutler gives an in-depth analysis of what’s needed to fix the crisis. Prior to the event, Cutler wrote this article about Georgism in the Bay Area.

Click here to view Cutler’s speech.

Henry George, Anti-Statist

In this article, David S. D’Amato is critical of  Edward O’Donnell’s Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality, (available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation) claiming it characterizes George as merely a Socialist or a Progressive. D’Amato claims that George’s ideas were more aligned with supporters of free markets.

However, D’Amato is making a similar mistake. He states: “And whereas O’Donnell is clearly repulsed by the libertarian Spencer (or at least the popular caricature of him), George, for a time, “regarded Spencer as a formidable ally in his crusade to abolish private land tenure” (see David Weinstein’s Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Spencer). George even cites Spencer favorably in Progress and Poverty’s acknowledgment of the theoretical desirability of “the abolition of government,” which he calls “the promised land of Herbert Spencer.” With “for a time,” D’Amato oversimplifies George too. In fact, George wrote a scathing attack on Spencer called A Perplexed Philosopher after Spencer changed his views on land. A Perplexed Philosopher is also available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

 

Annual Monetary Reform Conference,
Chicago, Sep 29 – Oct 2

Dennis Kucinich and fellow Georgist Nicholas Tideman will be speaking at the upcoming 12th Annual Monetary Reform Conference.  The conference is at the University Center in downtown Chicago, September 29th to October 2nd.

Remember there are no at-the-door registrations.  Sign up now online at www.monetary.org/2016-ami-monetary-reform-conference.

New Books!

 

Buy both books before October 1st, and receive 20% off the total price. Simply reply to this email.

Robert Schalkenbach Foundation recently releasted two exciting books: Rent Unmasked and the The Annotated ­­­­­­­­Works of Henry George: Volume One. They are both available for purchase on the Schalkenbach website (links below).

Rent Unmasked
Mason Gaffney Festschrift

“Rent Unmasked” honors Mason Gaffney for the quality of his lifetime’s work and dramatizes the way his economic insights would resolve contemporary economic and political concerns.

The book includes fifteen new essays on How to Save the Global Economy and Build a Sustainable Future as A Tribute to Mason Gaffney.

The Annotated Works of Henry George: Volume One

The six-volume edition of the works of Henry George assembles all his major works for the first time with new introductions, critical annotations, extensive bibliographical material, and comprehensive indexing to provide a wealth of resources for scholars and reformers.“Volume 1” presents three major works by George and new essays to provide context: Our Land and Land Policy (1871), The Irish Land Question (1881) and Property in Land (1885).