July 2017

The Henry George Program

If you haven’t heard yet, the ideas of Henry George have a new outlet through Stanford University Radio’s The Henry George Program. It’s been a great opportunity to form new partnerships and spread the Georgist message among influencers as well as the general public.

Recently, the show featured Jamie Galbraith, son of John Kenneth Galbraith, who in our discussion said that even if we found ways to increase aggregate demand, land rent would rise to claim a great deal of the benefit. Therefore, he thinks increasing aggregate demand and land value tax together is important. Of Mason Gaffney, Dr. Galbraith said:

“This is a very remarkable thinker of our time. Every time I come across one of his essays, I’m enchanted by it… he’s clearly a remarkable presence in our intellectual lives and policy discussions. I’m a great fan of Mason Gaffney.”

The show has also recorded interviews with public representatives, as well as Nobel Prize winners, leaders at large companies, and other influencers.

 

News Highlights

San Francisco Is Burning

“The past few years have seen sustained tech-worker colonization. Property prices have skyrocketed, and something strange and terrible has started happening: a spate of mysterious fires. There were 45 of them in 2015 and 2016, displacing 198 people and killing three, including a child.

“Legal evictions in San Francisco are costly and difficult, and so a lot of locals have started wondering: Could there be a plot by landlord arsonists to clear out the district to make way for the tech people?”

Bengaluru Gets It Right – Land Value Tax To Finance The Metro

“Bengaluru is using a variation of land value taxation to fund the construction of a metro station. The basic insight being that the construction of a metro line adds value in the areas served by it. Thus a reasonable method of financing the construction is by trying to capture some of that rise in the land value. The value rise is largest at the actual stations of course, so that’s the right place to try to be charging the owners for the uplift in land values.

“It’s worth noting that the extension of London’s Tube to Battersea is being largely financed in this manner. The people redeveloping the Battersea Power Station have chipped in a couple of hundred million to extend the line. On the grounds that the extension produces more than that value uplift to their development. The earlier extension of the Jubilee Line out to Canary Wharf was also paid for, largely, by the developers of Canary Wharf.”

Land value soars 13.5 percent, raises question of tax

“The value of land beneath Australians’ homes has increased to more than 70 per cent of the value of their entire real estate holdings, the highest share in history and almost double the level in the late 1980s.

“Land is now the biggest item on Australians’ aggregate balance sheet, ahead of superannuation assets of $2.66 trillion and bank deposits and currency of just over $1.06 trillion. Unimproved land makes up slightly under half of Australian households’ net worth, according to the ABS.

“A 0.7 per cent a year land tax should be phased in in NSW to replace stamp duties, concluded a recent report obtained under FOI laws by The Australian, authored by retired economics professor Peter Abelson.”

Ohio farmers pushing for changes to land value formula

“Property taxes are on the increase, and local farmers are taking a hit in their wallets.

“Farmers across the state who are enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program have watched as taxable value of their land has increased.

“Changes could be on the horizon for farmers in the CAUV program as Senate Bill 36 has passed the Senate and is heading to the Ohio House for a vote. The proposal would allow for changes to the formula to address non-farm influences that tend to raise CAUV values. Farmers also would not be penalized for adopting conservation practices to protect water quality.”

John FitzGerald: Tax on hoarding land would incentivise building

“The really scarce factor of production is zoned and serviced building land, and land prices are rising rapidly in response to the increased sale price for housing.

“Increasing the supply of land zoned for development would certainly cut its price. Simplifying and clarifying the planning process would also help. There is currently huge uncertainty about what will be acceptable to planners, and this uncertainty raises costs and inhibits supply.

“There is also evidence of land hoarding in expectation of even higher prices in future. If Budget 2018 brought in an appropriate tax on such land, this would incentivize owners to make it available for building now.”

BOOKS

The Annotated Works of Henry George Vol 2

Volume II of The Annotated Works of Henry George presents the unabridged text of Progress and Poverty, the most influential work. The original text is supplemented by a new index and by notes that explain textual changes George made during his lifetime, as well as his many references to history, literature, and economics.

Young George and the Dragon: An Economic Fairy Tale

Have you ever wondered why the rich get richer and the middle class and poor keep falling behind? The fault lies not in the stars but in our human created economic system!

This simple fairy tale introduces readers to an economic philosophy that, if implemented, could reverse this trend toward growing poverty and, instead, create a win-win economic and political system that promotes free enterprise prosperity, economic justice, and an ecologically sustainable future.

The story of Young George and the Dragon should be read not only by young adults but by aging politicians too! It is about time that everyone should discover the “Holy Grail of Economics”.

 

Earth Sharing

Stand Up Economist -Young Georgist Conference

BIL: Oakland 2016 Recession Generation was an Earthsharing.org conference in Oakland, California last year. Yoram Bauman, who declares himself the world’s first and only stand-up economist, took the opportunity to present a humorous interlude before a featured panel on optimal taxation.

Bauman told some hilarious jokes, the full stand-up set you can see here.

A New Resource For Advocacy And Education 

EarthSharing.org has compiled a database of high-quality research on LVT. This is serious academic work that scrutinizes LVT alongside other tax structures and has reached the same conclusions. Consider the following from a 2015 OECD publication:

“Property taxes can underpin sustainable land use. A pure land tax can help contain urban sprawl and foster the conversion of developed land instead of greenfield development. The land-use effects of property taxes – which also tax investment – are more ambiguous. Specifically designed “green” property taxes (soil-sealing taxes, development charges, etc.) can further help internalise land-use externalities.”

 

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