Taking it to the People: Land Value Tax vote set for May 7th in Lanesborough, Massachusetts
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Incentive Taxation

Taking it to the People: Land Value Tax vote set for May 7th in Lanesborough, Massachusetts


One of the best traditions still in existence from the earliest days of the American experiment are the true exercises in democracy known as town meetings.  














The road to Massachusetts land value tax may run through Lanesborough.

As Henry David Thoreau wrote:

"I am more and more convinced that, with reference to any public question, it is more important to know what the country thinks of it than what the city thinks. The city does not think much. On any moral question, I would rather have the opinion of Boxboro than of Boston and New York put together. 

When the former speaks, I feel as if somebody had spoken, as if humanity was yet, and a reasonable being had asserted its rights — as if some unprejudiced men among the country's hills had at length turned their attention to the subject, and by a few sensible words redeemed the reputation of the race. When, in some obscure country town, the farmers come together to a special town-meeting, to express their opinion on some subject which is vexing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, and the most respectable one that is ever assembled in the United States."

Towns and villages throughout New England use this tool to decide budgets, land use decisions, and all the other essential business of a community.

On May 7, the town of Lanesborough Massachusetts  will hold a special meeting for citizens to decide whether land value taxation ought to be a replacement for the traditional property tax.  

The effort is spearheaded by CSE board member Albert Hartheimer, a retired architect and longtime civic activist; he gathered the necessary 200 signatures required to petition the town for a special meeting.  





Hartheimer played a leading role in managing passage of a land value tax enabling bill in New York State for the city of Amsterdam in 1993.  
He currently has legislation introduced that would reduce Massachusetts' punitive sales tax and replace it with a levy on the taxable land values of the Commonwealth.








Al Hartheimer: Bringing LVT to the Berkshires?

The vote comes on the heels of an education campaign that demonstrated that a land value tax can help reverse the steady loss of population and commerce from Lanesborough and reduce the burden of taxation on nearly all homeowners and most business, such as the popular Bob's Country Kitchen.  If the vote is in the affirmative, the legislature of the Commonwealth will have to approve the measure.

Urbantools will cover the story as it unfolds, from our seat at Bob's




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